Call Me As You Would a Royal Pineapple, Please.


(Pineapple Queen with her royal lollipop)

I would like to go by your royal pine-ness now, thank you. Pineapples, bananas and plantains are forever ruined for me in the US, I can never eat another pineapple again knowing it wasn’t cut by a machete on a tractor and delivered to us from the plant. The pineapple and banana plantations we visited today were one of my favorite experiences we have had yet this trip. The obvious pride and education behind each delicious product easily portrayed the passion these individuals put into their farms.

Comparing our findings from today to what we have learned so far from coffee producers, I can tell that the processes and work are quite different. Coffee seems a little low maintenance compared to the constant coddling you have to do for a pineapple to behave. Additionally, coffee holds for a long period for exportation compared to pineapples and bananas. Coffee can last for months on the shelf, while pineapples immediately begin fermentation and stop ripening when cut from their stem. And bananas and plantains are also fresh produce which do not have the shelf life as coffee beans do.

One really interesting part of the plantation tours we went on today was the sustainability behind their growing and harvesting process. Both of the farms today are certified organic meaning they use little to no chemicals on their plants and put in that extra bit of love that you can taste immediately. Both plantations use their own compost collection to give nutrients to their crops and stay as natural as possible with their other ingredients in order to put the best product forward. Their customers and visitors can feel assured that they are putting a ripe, healthy, delicious fruit into their body when buying from these vendors.

(Me with a LITERAL MACHETE cutting and harvesting plantains from the tree)

One set back from this organic growing style for pineapples is the cost of the exported fruit. The Dole plantation we visited was certified organic but only to a certain percent. Our guide today said that you can make a 100% organic pineapple but it would sell for a steep price, something like fifty dollars in your supermarket. As for bananas, there are massive commercial plantations that are culprits planting the babies from the same mother plant, therefore making all the plants on their premises the same genetic makeup. Now the set backs of this are the possibilities of one disease taking out each and every plant and the nutrient deficient of the soil because each plant is sucking the same nutrient from the dirt.

And while these processes are intricate for these delectable fruits, the product sure makes it all worth it. Fried plantains will never compete with our lunch today and a pineapple will never be close to the one I ate today and literally sucked off the core. And after learning all the hard that goes into it all, I would probably want to be a plantation worker on a pineapple plantation because of a couple reasons. Firstly, the season for pineapples is all the time, meaning there is never an off beat like coffee has, so you have constant job security. And lastly, the pride I saw behind the pineapples we ate today, I would be honored to be a part of that process and product that I know I will remember forever.

(Katie and Lizzie with a baby pineapple)

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