The great pineapple search

Do you know what’s almost impossible to find on the Pineapple Island? Pineapples. I haven’t seen a single plant the whole time I’ve been here. Yesterday I decided to go on the Great Pineapple Hunt. I started at the Blue Ginger where, over breakfast, someone said he thought there were some plantings out at the airport. So I drove out there and poked around, but I couldn’t find anything. Then in the afternoon I allowed myself to get lost on private land in the Palawai Basin where they used to grow tens of thousands of pineapple plants. I figured there had to be a few remaining plants somewhere. I mean, they couldn’t all just disappear, could they? Wouldn’t there be a forgotten plot, somewhere, of rogue pineapple plants?

photo by David Lansing

photo by David Lansing

I drove and drove and drove, down one cinder road after the other, until I came to this field that had a locked gate blocking the road and a sign that said RESTRICTED AREA. Why, I wondered, was access restricted? What the hell was going on behind the gate?

Since I couldn’t drive any further, I got out and started walking. I must have walked a mile or more down that red road. And you know what I saw? Nothing. Just the same shoulder-high grass you see everywhere else on the island. Yet I have to say that I had this feeling that the pineapples were out there somewhere. Hiding. Don’t ask me why. It sounds like an animated Disney movie, right? The Land of the Lost Pineapples.

Totally frustrated, I drove back to The Lodge, thinking I’d sit out on the veranda and have a Shipwreck or two. And that’s when I saw it. A little garden, tucked away, just to the right of the long entry road leading to the resort. I parked the Jeep in the grass and went for a look. There were papaya trees and starfruit, mangos and all kinds of bananas. And there, in an almost forgotten corner of the garden, was a little plot of stubby pineapple plants. The last survivors, the great-great-great grandchildren of Dole pineapples on what used to be Pineapple Island.

photo by Macduff Everton

photo by Macduff Everton

It was kind of sad to see. But I like knowing that there are at least a few pineapple descendants still on the island. 

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1 comment

  1. Fred Harwood’s avatar

    Transportation was key to both the sugar and pineapple stories, both important pasts for Hawaii’s modern population and very changeable economy, outside of tourism.

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