The rolling pastoral slopes of Upcountry Maui have become a breadbasket of farm to table gourmet treats. And, just up at 1000ft elevation, Hailiimaile Pineapple Company have revived a historic tradition for the island of Maui – growing pineapple.
This local king of fruits has been adapted to create, what some argue, is the very best variety of pineapple, known as the Maui Gold.
Standing in a dirt lot, surrounded by an unrefined metal warehouse, a tiny abandoned timeworn gas station, and rows of shoulder high cane grass in the distance, we are greeted with hair nets and a huge smile. “Welcome to our pineapple plantation!”
Our energetic guide begins to elaborate on the history of the plantation and the complexities of growing this fine fruit. She whisks us into the factory alongside a conveyor that’s tumbling wet pineapples up and out of a long trough where they’ve been floating. “Most of the pineapple,” she tells us, “doesn’t turn its bright gold color until it’s plunged into the wash tanks.”
Their team, mostly Philipino, are carrying on Maui’s long tradition of migrant workers. Its a fun bunch who seems proud of their product. They weed out the unfit and test for the perfect acidity level in the fruit before it can be crated up and shipped out.
A short van ride later, we are standing in rows upon rows of bromeliad with a view of the West Maui Mountains and the bold blue ocean below. “There are three stages of a ripening pineapple,” our guide says. Then she moseys, machete wielding, into the field and plucks off a huge one. A few flicks and I’ve got a sweet juicy bit in my hand. It’s bright gold and it tastes like sunshine.
After sampling a few different varieties, and one that tastes like Pina colada!, we are given an airport-ready, boxed pineapple souvenir! It’s said to last for 7-10 days and will be a very sweet reminder of a great Maui vacation.
After the tour, we opt for the lunch add-on for only an additional $15. What a treat! This is a Bev Gannon restaurant, Hailiimaile General Store. Bev Gannon is a highly apprized Maui chef with a passion for fine local ingredients; she boasts three of the best loved restaurants on Maui. My hearty Thai turkey loaf was deliciously savory. It came with cashew coconut spread and sweet chili slaw and was served on a taro bun. We topped if off with a hot cup of locally grown coffee and a scoop of homemade guava sorbet. My compliments to the chef!
What to Bring:
– Comfortable Shoes Sunscreen and/or Hat Non-white clothing, clothes may pick up dirt
– Minimum age – 5 years old.
– Guests who are pregnant or who have neck or back problems should not participate on this tour. The van tour portion of this trip covers bumpy and uneven terrain.
Visit Maui Pineapple Tour to book your tour.