One of my favorite fruits is pineapple. I’ve been known to buy a costco sized tub of pineapple and finish it in a few days. So I was stoked to tour a local pineapple farm. Don Wilo, the owner of the farm we visited, gave us the background of pina farming, including a tour and a tasting.
First he demonstrated how the baby plants are planted in the ground using nothing more than a long stick and his own two feet. He starts a small hole for the baby and secures it in the ground with his feet. He passed around the babies…so small, but still prickly. It takes 18 months for a pineapple plant to produce its first fruit. From then on, they produce for 5-6 years but the fruit get continually smaller. Once an area of plants are done, Don Wilo will plant something else like papaya or platanos. The shade will kill the pineapple plants and their waste becomes fertilizer for the next plant group. When he sells pineapple to the states, they have to be picked at 75% ripe which is why pineapples in the states don’t look yellow on the outside. When they do, a sign they are completely ripe, a small incision will make the thing leak like a faucet—they are so juicy.
Holding a baby pineapple with the national flower of Nicaragua behind my ear.
Don Wilo’s pineapple farm. He has about 2 acres. He works it alone. His daughters help him sell the fruit at the market.
Plants of different stages mixed together in the same area.
The national bird of Nicaragua lives in holes among the pineapple fields. The holes are actually T-shaped so the bird with its long tail can turn around fully.
The pineapple from Don Wilo was sooo juicy and sweet. I appreciate the tang and color of those in the US, but truly, it’s almost a different fruit.