Raising Pineapple in Hawaii a Hundred Years Ago

Source: American Cookery (February, 1917)
Source: American Cookery (February, 1917)

Did you ever wonder what it was like in Hawaii a hundred years ago?  Well, according to a 1917 magazine article there were huge pineapple plantations – and there were tourists. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

Hawaii’s Immense Fields of Pineapples

The Islands of Hawaii possess many interesting sights, but they have none that elicit more universal admiration from the tourist than the immense pineapple plantations, which, in some localities, spread over the landscape as far as the eye can see.  While pineapples are grown on nearly all of the islands of the group, by far the larger part of the acreage is on the capital island of Oahu.

The larger portion of the Hawaiian pineapple crop is consumed by the canneries and juice-makers on the Islands. The raw or fresh fruit comes chiefly to the mainland ports of the United States, but the juice and the canned product go, also, to Canada, Great Britain, and the continent of Europe.

American Cookery (February, 1917)

38 thoughts on “Raising Pineapple in Hawaii a Hundred Years Ago

    1. How true- some things have really changed across the years. I also found it fascinating that the man (the farmer?) holding the pineapple in the middle of a field was wearing a suit. I suppose that he put his best clothes on for the picture. I can’t imagine a recent picture of someone in a suit standing in a farm field.

  1. I have pineapples growing. I think I am up to a dozen plants. Couple of them are starting to bear fruit. I have 2 in the window that needs to be potted then planted later. They grown nicely in SW Florida.

  2. Hard to believe that Hawaii currently grows .13% of the world’s pineapple today as per Smithsonian magazine. It also brought back memories of the old movie (you may be just too young to remember this one, Sheryl) of “Ma and Pa Kettle Visit Hawaii”. They toured a pineapple factory and Pa had a transistor radio up to his ear the entire time.
    On another note, I was reading a Mar 1917 western OK newspaper yesterday that several local farmers were offering free lambs quarter (pigweed) to all. It was “said to be very appetizing at the present time, partly of course on the account of the high cost of spuds and other eatables.” And there are recipes online! It’s supposed to rival cabbage and spinach nutritionally. Ugh! (Sorry if I offended any pigweed gourmets out there.)

    1. I’ve seen a few Ma and Pa Kettle movies, but I’ve never seen the one where they went to Hawaii. I’ll have to look for it at the library.

      The OK farmers have a unique way of trying to get rid of weeds. I like dandelion – and you’ve now made me curious about what pigweed tastes like.

  3. You can look for this photo in my blog, some day. I’ve got a draft in my files that tells the story of my great-aunt, Inazel Crowley, who taught in an Iowa one-room school, but who ended up on a pineapple plantation in Hawaii after a few years in Colorado. So much to write, so little time!

    1. Wow, your aunt’s story sounds absolutely fascinating. She sounds like a very adventuresome woman. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you write it up soon.

      1. Adventuresome is one word for it. I was thinking about her today–she actually was my gr-great aunt, and believe me: she was the talk of the family. She probably was the talk of the town. She’ll pop up soon. I have a tintype of her and her sisters, which makes it even better.

        1. Yeah! I’m forward to reading it soon. Somehow this discussion makes me think of another set of posts you once did on a relative (an aunt?) who gave you a lovely box to put money to save for things you wanted. It’s one of my all-time favorite stories. I loved how you were able to portray both the positive and negative aspects of that individual – and create a bio sketch that portrayed a wonderful multi-faceted person. I think that I’m going to head to your blog now to look for it, so I can reread it.

    1. I was also really surprised that they apparently shipped some fresh pineapple to the west coast of the US on ships back then. I wonder how long it took for the ships to cross the ocean (and how long pineapple keeps).

  4. This brought back pleasant memories of Hawaii. I visited 40 years ago and can still remember that fresh coconut smell, being greeted at the airport in the middle of the night with ‘aloha,’ and riding by a pineapple plantation.

  5. It’s nice to hear that you liked this post. When I was browsing through hundred-year-old magazines, I came across this article, and, similarly to you, found it really interesting.

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