We just returned from a lovely vacation to Maui. It was our first time on this island and it definitely had the “WOW! factor” everyone had told us about. What do you think of when you think of an island vacation? I suspect most people would immediately dream of relaxing on a beach chair and soaking up some rays. If that is your idea of an exotic holiday, I will warn you never to travel with us! We don’t ever lay out on the beach for the following reasons: (1) Other than our daughter, none of my family were born with an ability to produce a tan. The rest of us start working on our sunburn on the walk from the car to the hotel. We plaster sunscreen on every exposed inch of skin, wear hats and sunglasses – and still we burn. I actually freckle and burn. My only hope of ever returning from a trip with dark skin is if my many freckles coalesce together some day! (2) We want to see the sights unique to the area we are traveling through. I feel like it would be a shame if we returned from Maui and all we could say was “we saw the sun”. Granted, sun can be in short supply in Michigan, but if I want to get burned, I can lay out on a chair in my backyard and look at the same sun. (3) I hate sand! A couple of times I took my children to the beach when they were younger because I felt like it was a motherly sort of thing to do. It might have been fine, if we could have ignored the sunburn pain, but there still would have been the SAND. Ugh! It finds its way into everything. We’d always come away with it lodged in our eyes, ears, mouth (that after-the-dentist feeling), hair, clothing, and towels. I’m pretty sure the beaches around here were a little lower from the erosive effect our family’s presence had. The sand would then continue to show up for the next week at our house.
So now that you’ve made a mental note never to join us and expect a relaxing vacation, let me tell you about one thing we did on Maui (while avoiding the beach scene) – we went on a tour of a pineapple plantation. There I learned a number of things about pineapple and had a chance to eat pineapple right in the field. I really enjoy fresh pineapple, but I’ve never had really fresh pineapple before. It was so much sweeter than any I’ve ever eaten before.
Here are some of the things I learned about pineapple growing:
Pineapples don’t grow on trees. I have found most people that don’t live in pineapple growing areas think this. They grow on plants, low to the ground.
Almost all pineapple sold in the USA comes from outside our country. Hawaii used to be a big pineapple producer and a key distributor of canned pineapple. For many different reasons, it was cost prohibitive to do this. One by one the canneries closed. Although we saw a number of pineapple canneries on Maui, they had each been converted into a mall or strip mall. The plantation we toured is the only remaining commercial pineapple plantation on Maui and therefore we were on the only pineapple tour in Maui. This place does not can pineapple, but they do sell whole pineapples in Hawaii and ship the fresh fruit to the west coast of the U.S.
Hummingbirds are banned in Hawaii. These birds serve to pollinate the fruit. The resulting seeds harm the quality of the fruit. Importing hummingbirds to the islands is prohibited for this reason.
Pineapple growing takes a lot of patience. Most of the time, people grow pineapples from the cut off crown of the fruit. After letting it dry, it can be potted in a planter. It takes eighteen to twenty-four months for the pineapple growth to come to completion. That’s a lot of time and patience for one pineapple!
A second crop of pineapple can be grown from the first plant. It takes less time for this progeny to mature, but it ends up smaller than it’s parent was. On the farm we toured, it was easy to identify this second crop. The first were in nicely cultivated fields (see picture above). The second were in weed-tangled sections. It immediately made me think of a spiritual application. Second generation Christians (and those thereafter) need to be on guard against encroachments of bad influences. When the gospel first reaches a family, it is so exciting and new. The person who takes it in may find themselves making radical changes in their life. They tend to look very different to those who knew them before salvation. Time goes on and they may have children. Their children grow up being exposed to the Bible and to other Christians. They are isolated from many of the temptations that their parents had early on. As time goes on though, they slowly are exposed to the ways of the world that they hadn’t encountered before. Not wanting to appear isolated, they try to blend between the two. Slowly the weeds can start to creep in. Their growth can be stunted. A word of warning on how easy it is to not mature as a second (or later) generation Christian. I am in this category and it is a warning to myself.
I hope you learned some new things about the pineapple, as I did. I am so glad that they brought the tour back (they had a number of years when it was not operational). I think it may help me appreciate this humble fruit a little more than I have in the past.