Liza of “A Maui Blog”
All Photos courtesy Liza Pierce
When we toured the Maui Pineapple farm, I saw many Filipino workers in the field. This prompted me to look back on the history of Filipino involvement with Hawai‘i’s Pineapple Industry. I learned that from 1906 to 1946, the Hawai‘i Sugar Planters Association brought in more than 125,000 Sakadas to Hawai‘i. Sakadas were Filipinos imported as “skilled laborers” mainly from the Visayas and Ilocos regions of the Philippines. The workers worked in the sugar cane plantations and the pineapple plantations. Filipino labor helped transform the Islands’ pineapple industries.
In 1912, the Maui Pineapple Co. was founded. In November 2009, the Maui Pineapple Co. closed its operation but a few in-house executives from the company tried to save the pineapple production on Maui by forming the Hāli‘imaile Pineapple Co. Later, the company was renamed as Maui Gold Pineapple Company after its signature fruit Maui Gold Pineapple.
Maui Gold pineapples are sweet! It was developed over a half-century of selective crossbreeding. This Maui Gold succulent variety is cultivated year-round, utilizing sustainable agricultural practices such as composting, field rotation and water conservation.
Now back to the tour. The Maui Pineapple Tour is an awesome opportunity for all ages to hear about the history and farming process of pineapple on Maui. The guides are knowledgeable, entertaining, and with the small tour groups, it’s easy to ask them any questions you have during the tour. You even get to sample fresh pineapple straight from the field. Our favorite was the pineapple popsicle!
Even if you don’t like pineapples, this is a wonderful farm tour where the scenery on the slopes of Haleakalā alone is worth the price of admission. To see acres and acres of perfectly lined pineapple plants, with the Pacific and West Maui mountains as your backdrop, is gorgeous. It was fun to see various stages of pineapple growth and the baby ones are the cutest!
During the tour we were informed that an experienced field worker can plant 7,000 pineapples per shift—all of it by hand. Talk about hard work and expertise! And yes, most of the workers in the fields are Filipinos! And not only were they in the field, they were also in the processing plant and in the office.
I understand that most of those participating in the Maui Pineapple Tours are visitors but I also highly recommend this tour to locals as well. It is a good “family fun” activity. And for Pinoy families, it will be good to share with our kids how Filipinos are a big part of the Pineapple Heritage here on Maui.
Liza Pierce of A Maui Blog is an Interactive Media Strategist in Hawai‘i. She started blogging in 2006 and she loves talking story online and spreading aloha around the world. She’s been living on Maui since 1994 and considers Maui her home. A wife, a mother, a friend…and so much more. She loves Jesus; Maui Sunsets Catcher; Crazy About Rainbow; End Alzheimer’s Advocate. Her life is full and exciting here on the island of Maui.
Liza is currently the Interactive Media Strategist with Wailea Realty Corp.