Maui Gold® Pineapple Tour

  • 01 of 06

    Pineapple and Hawaii

    Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

    Pineapple. It's still one of the images that come to mind when people think about Hawaii. In the late 1940's, Hawaii was the pineapple capital of the world, producing more than 80 percent of the world's pineapple. At that time, only sugar cane was a larger industry.

    Such is not the case today. Today Hawaii's pineapple production makes up less than 2% of the world's crop. The nations of Thailand, the Philippines and Brazil lead the world in pineapple production. The reason is simple. It's cheaper to produce fresh and canned pineapple elsewhere. In 2008 Del Monte will harvest their last crop of pineapple in Hawaii (on Oahu.)

    Maui Gold® Pineapple

    One variety of pineapple which is seeing an increase in production is Maui Gold® Pineapple. Maui Gold® is produced only by Maui Pineapple Company, a subsidiary of Maui Land & Pineapple Company (ML&P), a holding and operating company established in 1907 dedicated to agriculture, resort operation, and the creation and management of balanced communities.

    Maui Gold® is naturally sweet, with a low acid content, a rich golden color, and a deliciously sweet pineapple aroma and taste. Maui Gold® is also exceptionally nutritious, providing 3 times the Vitamin C of traditional pineapple. Maui Pineapple Company introduced the Maui Gold® pineapple variety to the market in 1996.

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  • 02 of 06

    Tour Offered Daily Monday Through Friday

    Photo Courtesy of Kapalua Resort & Maui Pineapple Company

    There is only one place in the United States where you can take a tour of a working pineapple plantation. That is on Maui at the Kapalua Resort which is owned by ML&P. The Maui Gold® Pineapple Tour takes you to the pineapple fields where you learn all about pineapple planting, harvesting and tasting in addition to plantation and island history.

    This is a really fun tour, one of the most fun I've taken in Hawaii. It's educational, eco-friendly, scenic and tasty!

    The tour operates twice daily Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. The Friday 11:45 tour is an extended tour called the "Pineapple Experience Signature Tour" which includes lunch at The Plantation House or Pineapple Grill restaurants in the Kapalua Resort.

    The tour departs from the Kapalua Adventure Center which is located on Office Road in the Kapalua Resort. The tour also picks up guests at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Up to twenty guests board the new, luxurious Maui Gold shuttle van where, if you're lucky, you'll meet as your guide, Carlos Sandoval, pineapple tour manager for Maui Pineapple Company.

    Carlos is an expert on the history of the pineapple industry in Hawaii, Maui Pineapple Company and Maui Gold® Pineapple in particular. Carlos's colorful commentary weaves history, facts and trivia into an authentic pineapple plantation experience.

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  • 03 of 06

    Select Your Own Perfect Pineapple

    Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

    The tour proceeds past some of the old plantation era buildings which still stand at the resort, along the coastline, to fields far up in the mountainside which are being planted and/or harvested.

    You'll learn first-hand about the unique growing cycles, planting and harvesting techniques of pineapple. In the field, you'll walk through rows of fresh pineapple, sampling and selecting your own perfect sweet Maui Gold® pineapple to take home as a souvenir.

    "Taking approximately 18 months to grow, pineapple is not an easy fruit to produce and many of our guests are surprised to learn that," said Carlos Sandoval. "We specialize in cultivating an extra-sweet variety, Maui Gold® pineapple, born and raised only on Maui. A highlight of the tour is when the guests learn how to hand select their own perfect pineapple to take home as a souvenir." Don't worry though; Carlos is right there with you to ensure that you pick that perfect pineapple and not one too young or left too long on the plant.

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  • 04 of 06

    Why West Maui?

    Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

    I found it particularly interesting to learn about and see the growing process of the pineapple plant. Pineapple plants are actually bromeliads and the only bromeliad fruit in widespread cultivation. New plants can be grown from the crown or top part of plants that are harvested.

    The year-round warm sunny days tempered by gentle trade winds, perfect amount of rainfall and rich volcanic soils on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains is a major reason that Maui Gold® grows so well on the lands above the Kapalua Resort.

    Even in today's highly mechanized world, pineapples are still planted and harvested by hand. The workers that do the actual planting are the most experienced and best paid workers. If not for more modern equipment used to collect and transport the harvested fruit, what you see taking place in the pineapple fields today is very much the same image you may have seen in motion pictures or Hawaii travelogues of the 1940's and 50's.

    ML&P owns approximately 28,600 acres on the island of Maui, on which it operates the Kapalua Resort community and cultivates approximately 6,000 acres of pineapple. ML&P also owns and manages the 8,661 acre Pu'u Kukui Watershed Preserve, which is the largest private nature preserve in the state of Hawaii.

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  • 05 of 06

    Fun Facts

    Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

    Here are some fun facts about pineapples and Maui Gold® Pineapple:

    • For nearly 100 years, Maui Pineapple Company has been growing pineapple; in 2005, it revealed its new extra sweet Maui Gold®.

    • Purchase Maui Gold® pineapple online at MauiPineapple.com. (The pineapples will be shipped FedEx to you from Maui.) Maui Gold pineapples are also available in grocery and wholesale stores throughout the Hawaiian Islands such as Safeway, Foodland, Times, Star Markets and Costco. They are also available on the West coast and in the Midwest of the U.S. Mainland in Costco, Food 4 Less, Save Mart, Haggens/Top Foods, Whole Foods and other fine markets.

    • Maui Gold® is loaded with 3 times the vitamin C of other pineapples.

    • Pineapple ranks as one of the top 50 foods with the highest antioxidant content per serving.

    • Found only in pineapple, bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme, believed to reduce inflammation in muscles, sinuses, etc.

    • Two slices of pineapple has only 60 calories and no fat, cholesterol or sodium.

    • Maui has long been considered one of the world's finest pineapple growing regions.

    • Maui Gold® is specially cultivated, individually hand-selected and picked only when fully ripe and ready to eat. It takes approximately 18 months to grow a pineapple.

    • Kapalua Resort, Maui Pineapple's sister company, is the only resort with a working pineapple plantation tour for guests and the public.

    • New taste in pineapple: the extra sweet Maui Gold® variety is a special low acid hybrid grown and harvested only by Maui Pineapple Company on the island of Maui.

    • Pineapple is the symbol of friendship and hospitality.
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  • 06 of 06

    If You Go

    Photo Courtesy of Kapalua Resort & Maui Pineapple Company

    Maui Pineapple Company is currently offering two tour options:

    Pineapple Express Tour

    • Days: Monday-Friday
    • Times: 9 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.
    • Activity: Brief tour of Kapalua Resort and visit to Honolua Pineapple Farm, for pineapple tasting and picking
    • Guests per tour: 20 maximum
    • Age limit: 5 years minimum and the ability to participate in the tour
    • Prices: $39.95/person and $32 for children under 12 years old

    Pineapple Experience Signature Tour

    • Day: Friday
    • Times: 11:45 a.m. (runs to 3 p.m.)
    • Activity: Tour of Kapalua Resort and Honolua Bay with a short hike, lunch at The Plantation House or Pineapple Grill restaurants in the resort, visit to Honolua Pineapple Farm and Kapalua Gold® organic fields, pineapple tasting and picking
    • Guests per tour: 20 maximum
    • Age limit: 5 years minimum and the ability to participate in the tour
    • Prices: $65/person and $58 for children under 12 years old

    Suggested equipment: Comfortable, closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, water and camera

    Reservations are recommended. Space is limited. Special rates are available for children and groups of 6 or more.

     

    Purchase Tickets

    You can call for reservations at 808-665-5491.