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Hawaii Development from Pineapple Plantation to Playground of the Rich
- Hawaii badly needed another source of income besides sugar cane, then their principal crop.
- When sugar prices were up, everybody had money, when they fell, Hawaiians were broke. Millions had been spent experimenting with new crops. Jim Dole decided that pineapple was the crop.
- Captain John Kidwell, an English settler in Hawaii, had imported slips from Jamaica and Australia some time before, and demonstrated that pineapples would thrive in Hawaii’s red soil. But there was no market for his fruit.
- However, that did not stop Jim Dole he announced that he would soon be growing pineapples by the million. He would then market them.
The Pineapple Company Became Hawaii's Largest Employer
- Dole set out 75,000 plants on 12 acres at Wahiawa on Oahu Island. The Islanders said Dole was wasting his time.
- Hawaiians don’t belittle Jim Doyle’s dream. Since 1901 the fabulous and exotic fruit has brought more than two thousand million dollars to Hawaii. The modest planting he launched at Wahiawa grew to 73,000 acres, which produce 70 per cent of the world’s supply of tinned pineapple.
- The Hawaiian Pineapple Company he founded is Hawaii’s largest employer.
- To get cash for canning machinery and wages, Dole persuaded a few investors to gamble small sums of money on his dream.
- Dole managed to raise $20,000 to launch ‘Hawaiian Pine’
James Dole Founded the Hawaiian Pineapple Company
- James Dole founded the Hawaiian Pineapple Company when he came to Hawaii in 1899
- When Dole bought Lanai, the Pineapple Isle for one million dollar. It was a barren island but Dole turned it into a 14,000 acre plantation and a home for 2,600 people.
- His first harvest was canned in 1903. Dole had 1,893 cases ready for market and his company had $1,000 in the bank and owed $3,000.
- The Islanders expected him to go broke. But he sold his tinned pineapple and ended the year showing a profit.
- The next year he packed more than 8,000 cases, 25,000 the third year, 32,000 the fourth.
- His product was increasing faster than his market. This and the 1907 panic just about made his business go under.
- But he did not go under or sold up as many of the other canneries.
- Dole raised $50,000 to encouraged people to eat pineapple. In eighteen months his promotion increased the consumption of pineapple.
- Then Nematodes, thriving by the millions in the warm soil of Hawaii, feasted on roots of the pineapple.
- Dole engaged first class scientists who prescribed first tear gas, then a fumigant called ‘DD’ which checked the minuscule pests.
- Then for no reason the pineapple plants refused to grow. Scientists again came up with the answer.
- Pineapple plants need iron. Though Hawaii’s soil is rich in iron, it is locked up by manganese.
- Dole had the fields sprayed with an iron ‘green paint.’ The plants absorbed the iron through their leaves and grew green and lush.
- Fruit flowed to the huge ‘pineapple works’ on Honolulu harbor.
- The largest fruit cannery on earth. Hand operated peelers and slicers were no longer able to cope with the flood and were replaced by an ingenious machine that peels, cores and cuts 90 pines a minute.
- Then the depression of the 30’s hit. Dole had three million cases on hand and 250 million flourishing plants in the field. Dole’s answer was a campaign to induce people to drink pineapples.
- By products of the juice include liquid sugar used in canning, ascorbic acid, used to keep frozen peaches from turning brown, and citric acid for beverage and medical uses.
- From the rind of the fruit, a nutritive dried bran for cattle feed was produced.
Hawaii's Standard of Living Increased
- The Smooth Cayenne, is the Hawaii growers’ favorite because each fruit is uniformly right in shape and size for canning.
- I t grows on a stocky stem four feet high, with scores of sharp pointed leaves. Workers wear heavy leather aprons, stout gloves and goggles.
- Hawaii’s standard of living increased and became higher than that of any other Pacific island group all because one man had a vision and could convince people to eat and drink pineapples.
Company Gets Taken Over
- However, in 1931 Castle and Cook bought a 21% share of Hawaiian Pineapple Co which was later renamed the Dole Food Co.
- Castle and Cooke bought the remaining shares of Dole in 1961.
- The company maintained Dole’s large pineapple plantations throughout the State, including a large one on the Island of Lanai where Castle and Cooke owned 95% of the Island.
- Murdock took control in 1985 when he bought out Castle and shareholders for nearly $700million and made the co private.
- He then closed down the Island’s pineapple operations and opened up two luxury resorts both managed by the four seasons hotel chain.
Hawaii's Island Boasts a String of Golf Courses and Clubhouses
- Aside from the two resorts, Hawaii’s sixth largest publicity accessible Island boasts a string of golf courses and clubhouses, and 600 acre residential development and some luxury homes.
- Some nine miles west of the Island of Maui, Pineapple Island is accessible by helicopter and small planes.
- Dole’s last harvest was picked in 1992 and the population of pineapple pickers had little choice but to leave the islands or take jobs with the hotel.
- In 1995 the real estate operation of the Dole Food Co were formed as the newly reformed Co of Castle and Cooke.
Most Business is in Real Estate
- In 1996 it was spun off from Dole and today most of its business is in real estate.
- The new Castle and Cooke was bought by Dole CEO David H Murdock, who remains the CEO.
- In 2012 CEO Oracle Corp Mr Larry Ellison’s bought Lanai from American billionaire David Murdock for $300 million, who will retain his residence on the island and retain rights to develop a wind energy farm.
- The project aims to build 3,500 homes, initially valued at 300,000 each.
- It’s been a Mormon Colony and the world’s largest pineapple plantation.
- When Mr Ellison bought Lanai, the deal also included 2 four seasons resorts which have been stripped and turned into luxury hotels.
© 2016 Anita Hasch