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Pineapples and Hawaii go hand in hand. The juicy, sweet fruit is one of the state’s biggest agricultural exports and a symbol of its culture.

If you’re wondering whether Dole, the iconic pineapple company, still grows pineapples in Hawaii, read on for a deep dive into the past, present and future of Hawaiian pineapple production.

A Brief History of Pineapple Farming in Hawaii

Pineapple and coconut drink on white sand beckground

Pineapples First Introduced in Early 19th Century

In the early 19th century, pineapples were introduced to Hawaii. The tropical climate and volcanic soil of the islands proved to be ideal for pineapple cultivation.

As a result, pineapple plantations began to emerge, and the pineapple industry quickly became a significant part of Hawaii’s economy.

Also read: Is Hawaii A Tropical Island?

James Dole Founded the Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901

In 1901, James Dole, also known as the “Pineapple King,” founded the Hawaiian Pineapple Company.

Dole recognized the potential of Hawaii’s pineapple industry and set out to revolutionize pineapple farming.

He implemented innovative farming techniques and introduced mechanization to increase productivity and efficiency.

Hawaiian Pineapple Company Grew Into an Agricultural Powerhouse

Under Dole’s leadership, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company grew into an agricultural powerhouse.

The company expanded its pineapple plantations across the Hawaiian islands and developed advanced canning techniques to preserve the fruit’s freshness.

By the 1920s, Dole’s company controlled over 70% of the world’s pineapple trade, earning Hawaii the nickname “Pineapple Islands.”

The pineapple industry played a vital role in shaping Hawaii’s history and economy, and its impact can still be seen in the state’s culture and cuisine.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of pineapple farming in Hawaii, you can visit the Hawaiian Crown website, which offers a wealth of information on Hawaiian pineapple and its significance to the islands.

Dole’s Current Pineapple Operations in Hawaii

Dole Shifted Focus to Asia and Latin America in the 1990s

In the 1990s, Dole made the strategic decision to shift its pineapple operations away from Hawaii and towards Asia and Latin America.

This decision was driven by various factors, including lower labor costs and favorable growing conditions in these regions.

As a result, Dole reduced its pineapple production in Hawaii and expanded its operations in countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, and Costa Rica. Today, these countries are the main sources of Dole’s pineapple supply.

Just Two Dole Farms Remain in Hawaii Today

While Dole’s focus has shifted away from Hawaii, the company still maintains a presence on the islands.

Currently, there are only two Dole farms that grow pineapples in Hawaii. These farms are located on the island of Oahu and cover a total area of approximately 2,000 acres.

Although the scale of operations in Hawaii has significantly decreased compared to the past, Dole continues to produce high-quality pineapples on these farms.

Dole’s Hawaiian Operations More Focused on Innovation and Sustainability

With the reduced scale of pineapple production in Hawaii, Dole has shifted its focus towards innovation and sustainability.

The company is constantly exploring new techniques and technologies to improve the quality and efficiency of its pineapple cultivation.

For example, Dole has been experimenting with organic farming methods and sustainable irrigation systems to minimize its environmental impact.

Furthermore, Dole is actively involved in research and development projects aimed at developing new pineapple varieties that are more resistant to diseases and pests.

By investing in innovation, Dole aims to stay at the forefront of the pineapple industry and provide consumers with the best possible products.

The Future of Pineapple Farming in Hawaii

Pineapple fruit in a basket on a wooden table during harvest season in the garden. Product display. Organic farming concept.

A Difficult Business Climate for Local Farmers

Farming pineapples in Hawaii has always been a challenging endeavor. The high cost of labor, land, and resources, coupled with unpredictable weather patterns, has made it increasingly difficult for local farmers to sustain their operations.

Many small-scale pineapple farms have had to shut down in recent years due to these challenges and the competition from larger, more efficient pineapple producers in other parts of the world.

According to the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, the number of pineapple farms in Hawaii has decreased by 30% in the past decade.

This decline is a result of various factors, including the rising costs of production and the increasing demand for imported pineapples.

Additionally, the limited availability of suitable agricultural land has also posed a significant challenge for local farmers.

Despite these difficulties, there are still a few dedicated farmers who continue to grow pineapples in Hawaii.

These farmers are passionate about preserving the Hawaiian tradition of pineapple farming and are committed to providing consumers with locally grown, high-quality pineapples.

But Demand for Hawaiian Pineapples Remains Strong

Despite the challenges faced by local farmers, the demand for Hawaiian pineapples remains strong.

The unique flavor and sweetness of Hawaiian pineapples, coupled with their reputation for superior quality, have made them highly sought after by consumers around the world.

In fact, according to the Hawaiian Crown pineapple company, there has been a significant increase in the demand for Hawaiian pineapples in recent years.

This increased demand has been driven by a growing consumer preference for locally sourced and sustainably grown produce.

Furthermore, the popularity of Hawaiian pineapples has been boosted by their use in various culinary creations, including cocktails, smoothies, and desserts.

The unique taste and texture of Hawaiian pineapples add a delightful tropical twist to any dish, making them a favorite ingredient among chefs and home cooks alike.

Also read: Traditional Hawaiian Alcohol: A Deep Dive Into The Island’s Ancient Drinks

Other Companies Keeping Hawaiian Pineapple Tradition Alive

While Dole may no longer grow pineapples in Hawaii, there are other companies that are dedicated to keeping the Hawaiian pineapple tradition alive.

One such company is the Maui Pineapple Store, which cultivates and sells a variety of pineapple products from the island.

The Maui Pineapple Store offers a range of delicious pineapple products, including fresh pineapples, pineapple jams, and even pineapple-infused spirits.

By supporting local farmers and promoting Hawaiian-grown pineapples, companies like the Maui Pineapple Store are helping to sustain the pineapple farming industry in Hawaii.

Also read: Can You Bring Fruit Back From Hawaii? A Comprehensive Guide


In conclusion, while Dole’s pineapple operations in Hawaii are just a shadow of what they once were, the company still maintains a presence there.

And even as economic challenges make pineapple farming difficult, the demand for juicy, sweet Hawaiian pineapples remains strong.

The iconic fruit will continue to be closely linked to Hawaiian culture and agriculture for years to come.

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