When you enter or leave Hawaii, there is a strict check for contraband of food and animals to/from the islands- except for Pineapples! We scratched our heads on this one until we saw this field.
Everything made sense then…
My impression of Hawaiian agriculture can be summarized to: pineapple, macadamia, coffee and spam (lol! that last one is a joke).
The islands produce about 400M pineapples annually according to Smithsonian.com and the Dole Plantation Farm is the second most visited place in Oahu, only losing to Pearl Harbor, which is an interesting insight into a tourist’s mindset — a little history and fooooood!
I drove by Dole my first time on the island, but didn’t stop to take a look, instead going past it to photograph the beautiful pineapple fields with gorgeous mountains in the background. However, on this second trip, I was hunting for souvenirs (a rare event) and decided to stop there on my way to the North Shore.
I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of products offered at the store. Besides tons of food products made of pineapple and many other fruits, the Dole Plantation store has every souvenir you can think of, from knickknacks to jewelry and anything in between. It also has a restaurant on site and a pineapple garden which was the highlight of the visit for me. So many types of pineapple and the plant is so pretty. Unfortunately, it takes 2-3 years before a pineapple plant bears fruit which is longer than my gardening skills can endure, so I will settle for store-bought pineapples instead.
Another interesting activity at Dole Plantation was the pineapple demonstration.
Who knew? I learned so much!
I learned that:
- I have for years peeled the fruit the wrong/hardest way. It is much easier to quarter it and cut the fruit from the skin, vs the other way around.
- If you wash the pineapple in water, that reduces the acid on the fruit, meaning less mouth sores from overindulging…yay! A definite win!
- Plum powder (called Li Hing in Hawaii) tastes great on top of pineapple. Would never have guessed that!
- You can use the crown of the pineapple to grow another plant. What? I am a city girl!
And the icing on the cake of this whole thing, I got to try the sweet, juicy pineapple grown just across the road.
What should have taken 20 mins to go in and out with souvenirs became a two-hour sidetrip (lunch, walking around, shopping and learning).
So folks, if you drive by Dole Plantation, make sure to stop by and at least try the pineapple! It is worth it!