Before visiting Hawaii for the first time, pineapples were definitely one of the first things that came to my mind when I thought of the islands. My friends told me that when I tried pineapples on the islands, they would be the best I had in my life. We also love exploring how areas were shaped historically and how foods are grown, and pineapples had a large effect on making the Hawaiian islands the way they are today. So on our first visit to Maui, we decided to tour the Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation, the only pineapple farm still functioning on Maui.
The History of Pineapples in Hawaii
I was surprised to hear that most fruits and animals that I think of as Hawaiian are not native to the islands. When the first settlers came to the Hawaiian shores from Polynesian they brought many “canoe crops” with them.
It is not sure when pineapples first appeared, but they were definitely on the islands by the early 1800s.
In the late 1800s, pineapple plantations were started in Maui by the children of Christian missionaries and California immigrants bringing Hawaiian pineapples around the world.
Although Maui Gold has bred its pineapples to be uniquely sweet, pineapples originated in South America in the mountains of Brazil. So let’s go see how Maui pineapples are grown…
What to Expect from a Maui Pineapple Tour
Be sure to buy your tour tickets online, as they sell out, often far in advance.
Check-in for your tour across the street from the plantation. I had a hard time finding the office, so be sure to give yourself enough time. The parking lot is directly across the street from the Haliimaile General Store Restaurant.
Our group of about 20 people then loaded onto a small bus to head over to the pineapple plantation along with our guide. Ken was funny, knowledgeable about the fruit, and had a long history with the company. Maui Gold Pineapples still employs about 50 locals, many of who have family ties to the company. The farm runs all year long.
I had no idea before the tour that pineapples grow on small bushes close to the ground. During our ride around the property, we were able to see pineapples at many stages of growth. I also learned that a plant is only used for three growth cycles because after that the fruit isn’t as sweet. We got off about three times to see the contrasting plants.
Every other day pineapples are picked or boxed. If you want to see one activity over another, be sure to book on a day that your activity is happening. On the day we visited, the action was happening in the field.
We stopped and watched the workers pick the pineapples and put them on a big conveyor belt to be trucked down to the processing plant where they are boxed to ship around the US.
Other than seeing pineapples in real life, the highlight of our tour was tasting pineapple directly from the field. The small, first-generation pineapple was truly the best pineapple I have ever had… sweet like candy!
We then headed to the factory. Even though it wasn’t in operation, our Ken still explained how it functioned. We then got our very own pineapple packed to come home with us. So, not only an informative, fun, and tasty tour, but it comes with a souvenir. The tour lasts about an hour and a half.
What To Do After Your Maui Pineapple Tour
Another highlight to this tour was seeing a part of Maui we otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to. The tour takes place at the foot of Haleakala in Upcountry Maui. It is worth exploring this verdant area further.
Two things we would have liked to do required reservations that we didn’t have. When I come back I will be sure to book times to eat across the street at the Haliimaile General Store Restaurant. If my kids are older or it’s an adult trip, I would also love to do the Haliimaile Distillery Tour which is right up the road.
The town of Haliimaile is also not too far from Kihei or Paia, so this would be a good time to visit those towns. We loved the Paia Flatbread Company.
Much thanks to Maui Gold Pineapple Tours for hosting my family on this tour. As always these are my honest opinions. I highly recommend this activity to anyone visiting Maui.
Make your reservation to explore Maui’s pineapple fields here.