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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Dole Plantation in Wahiawa, Hawaii

There is more than just the white sand beaches and azure blue ocean to be seen on the island of Oahu. As you drive out of the Waikiki area toward mauka on H-2, the middle of the island will remind you of Central California with farmland as far as the eye can see. One crop in particular is halakahiki, the beloved pineapple. You can see the spear-like leaves sprouting from the red volcanic soil from the highway. James Drummond Dole is knowns as the Pineapple King by putting his business and agriculture degrees to the test. He was not the first person to grow pineapples on the islands, but realized the potential of the enormous market outside of the islands. In 1901, Dole’s first pineapple cannery was born in Wahiawa, HI. Since then, the cannery moved to Honolulu to be closer to the shipping ports and remained in operation until 1991.

In Wahiawa, the Dole Plantation is still surrounded by pineapple crops. The visitor’s center is painted in a bright pineapple yellow color and welcomes guests from around the world. Inside you’ll find an enormous gift shop with Dole products along with local, artisan crafted kitchen wares, foods, and gifts to take home with you.

Outside, you can take part in a tour of the Plantation Garden or ride the Pineapple Express. If you want to try something fun and challenging, the World’s Largest Maze is calling out to you. My husband loves mazes and we always partake in this, always trying to beat his time from the last visit. Once we get into the middle of the maze, I let him go through the maze and collect the eight stencils. I like to sit on a bench and bask in the sunshine. While doing so, I’m always visited by little local birds.

Once my husband finishes the maze, he is rewarded with lunch at the Plantation Grille. On this visit, we opted to share Chili Cheese Fries and a Pineapple Float.
  • The Chili Cheese Fries is country-style beef and bean chili over crisp, deep-fried crinkle cut fries, and topped with Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses. It was a very large portion so it was just the right size to share. The chili was more on the tomato base side making it sweeter than we were accustomed. The cheese helped tone down the sweetness with its creamy, salty flavor. Rating: 4/5
  • The Pineapple Float was the star! Since I used to work and live near Disneyland, one of my favorite foods there is the Dole Whip from the Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland. What’s even better is to have it at the Dole Plantation atop fresh pineapple juice. It was amazing! The frozen creamy Dole Whip is exactly like it tastes at Disneyland. The pineapple juice is sweet and tangy. It tastes like a 50/50 bar but with pineapple instead of orange. I can’t wait to have another one! Rating: 5/5
Next time, I want to try one of the plate lunches like the Kalua Pork or Loco Moco.

You can spend a few hours at the Dole Plantation and then continue on to Haleiwa to visit the famous North Shore.

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 4 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars


For more information:
64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy
Wahiawa, HI 96786
+1.808.621.8404
Hours: Daily from 9:30am to 5pm (closed on Christmas Day)
Parking: Free lot parking next to the Visitor’s Center

Dole Plantation Grille on Urbanspoon

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