Hawaiian Vacation: Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation Tour

I am not a pineapple expert by any means. I know what they look like. I know what they taste like. I wouldn’t be able to pick a ripe pineapple if my life depended on it.


I took a tour of the Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation. It took around an hour and a half, and we took a little bus all over that place. This might sound like something that was pretty boring. It was not. In fact, it’s a testament to the fact that if you know your subject really well, then practically anything can be super interesting.

Our tour guide was a pineapple god. I am convinced he knew everything one might know about the yellow fruit. We’re talking Bubba Gump Shrimp levels of pineapple knowledge. And as we drove around the property, we heard and saw everything. What did I learn? What didn’t I learn, more like it.

  • Pineapples grow from bushes on the ground. Each bush grows a single pineapple at a time. They start out as these little furry pink blobs, and over the next 18 months they become a ripe pineapple.
  • It takes 18 months to grow the first pineapple. You can harvest it, and then the same plant will grow another one in 16 months, and you can repeat that a third time (when it takes the plant a year to grow another one), and then you uproot the plant and start over. (I guess the fruit isn’t as good once the plant gets older.)
  • The plantation plants hundreds of thousands of pineapple plants, by hand. They pick them every single week, by hand. It’s a really labor intensive process.
  • There are different kinds of pineapples. Dole pineapple isn’t as sweet as Maui Gold, but you can only buy Maui Gold in stores on Maui. They ship to the mainland, but it costs $100 for 25 pounds of pineapple. (However, it is seriously tasty pineapple.)
  • Pineapples are fully ripe when they turn dark green. Once they start turning yellow, they’re nearing the end of their shelf life. Waiting until they’re more yellow won’t make them sweeter.
  • Dole pineapples have most of their sugar in the bottom of the fruit, so if you turn them upside down for a few days before you cut them, the sugar distributes itself more evenly.
  • The spiny things on the end of a pineapple are much sharper when they’re younger.
  • You can tell the pineapple is really good by looking at the shape of the little spike mounds on its side. I’m still not entirely sure how, though. He explained it three times. The fault is in the listener on this one. The vessel was weak.

We each got a pineapple to take home, prepackaged so it could clear customs. However, when you get to the Maui airport, you need to go through agriculture screening if you’re going to the states. If you’re going to Canada, you don’t have to screen anything. Once you’re in Canada, if you get to the border and explain that everything you bought on your trip came from Hawaii, they wave you through. I guess there’s not a lot of pineapple smuggling on the Vermont/Canada border. Maybe we can exploit this loop hole and make tens of dollars.

If you’re going to Maui, you should check out the pineapple tour. I for one found it super interesting.

Leave a comment