Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pineapple Shockers

I have news for you.
Ooops... not, not that, though I did turn into a pineapple and dance the hula for a moment there.

Recognize these?

In a recent trip to the Dole Plantation I discovered that pineapples do not grow on trees. This is a particular shock, as they themselves have always reminded me of fat little palm trees. How can this be? It's like finding out that eggs come from cows. Pineapples come from short, spiky bushes. Each plant only grows one fruit at a time, and it takes about 1 1/2 years to do that! After growing a second fruit, the whole plant is uprooted. Here is my question: where on earth is there enough land to produce the amount of pineapples I see in the stores??! (Wikipedia just told me, but I'll leave you the pleasure of finding out for yourself, lest I begin to sound like a middle-school social studies report.) I do need to thank those faithful people who have the patience to cultivate a plant that produces one fruit every one and a half years. You're much appreciated!

Another interesting bit of info I found out while taking a ride on the Pineapple Express (a bright little train that chugged us around the tourist plantation, pausing every few minutes of narration to play a rousing local folk song over the loudspeaker), is that pineapples are not native to Hawaii but to central South America. They were introduced in the early 1800's. Mr. Dole ended up buying an entire Hawaiian island just to grow them on. If this disappoints you, let me continue. Basically, almost nothing you think is "Hawaiian" is actually Hawaiian. Mexican cowboys brought the guitar (though a Hawaiian teenager did invent the steel-guitar trick), and the hip-shaking dance is from Tahiti (now I know why my grandfather liked to vacation there). Whether native or not, pineapples grow well here, and we certainly enjoyed the pineapple ice cream and floats they sold us at the plantation.

Their little outdoor eating area was one of the prettiest places to relax... can anything beat shade, glowing yellow umbrellas and plantings, and cool pineapple ice cream?

Arden agreed.

In spite of it all, I'm still having a hard time reconciling myself to the squat, spiky sight of a single pineapple sprouting from the ground. It's really a shocking sight. Shocking.

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