Pineapples -so named because of their resemblance to pine cones - were introduced to Hawaii from South America sometime in the early- to mid-1800's (although it's actual arrival date has been lost to history). Missionaries Castle and Cooke were among the first to grow this plant, with its edible fruit, commercially on the islands. By 1899, a 22 year old James Dole moved to Oahu from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts (after he had earned a degree in agriculture from Harvard University) under the sponsorship of his cousin, Sanford Dole, who, at the time, was governor of Hawaii. James bought sixty-four acres of land on Oahu and began experimenting growing different crops. Eventually, he found that the pineapple actually flourished here. By 1901, his "Hawaiian Pineapple Company" had begun to grow. A smart entrepreneur, Dole developed the first nationwide advertising campaign to promote his company and began investing in mechanical technology to improve the efficiency of harvesting his crop. Twenty-one years later, his business had become so successful that Dole bought the island of Lana'i and turned it into a vast 20,000 acre pineapple plantation. Castle and Cooke bought twenty-one percent of the Dole company in 1932. The two companies finally fully merged by 1960 under the "Dole Company" name. Today, the original Dole Plantation ( about a one hour bus ride from Honolulu) has been turned into a working museum . While a bit touristy, this was still a fun historical visit.
The main Dole Plantation building as seen from the entrance driveway.
One of the main attractions is the Pineapple Express..
...a twenty minute train ride through the working part of the property...
...while pineapples are the number one crop grown here...
...sugar cane is also grown...
...as are breadfruit...
...bananas and several other crops.
Dole was a heavy investor in mechanical technology, such as this Boom Conveyor Harvester, to improve the efficiency of bringing his crops to market .
One of the other main attractions on the property is the "Pineapple Garden Maze."
Aerial view of this two-and-a-half acre maze, recognized in 2001 as the world's largest maze...
...and in which you can get easily confused.
In addition, there are some very beautiful gardens on the plantation...
...with exquisite landscaping to rival the best Botanical Gardens in the world.
You can also watch a demonstration of the "proper way" to carve a pineapple.
Since this is an all day excursion, you'll probably want some lunch. While there are eateries within the Dole Plantation itself, we found that the best, and the cheapest place was right next door, at the Helemano Plantation...
...where you can enjoy an "all-you-can-eat" buffet for ten dollars per person.
Hmmm...now which way is back to our apartment?
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.