Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pineapples in Florida History? What?

Ahh…the pineapple. When I think of pineapples, I am transported to tropical Hawaii with thoughts of cool ocean breezes and exotic cocktails waiting to be enjoyed. How about you?

Pineapple on Parent Plant
photo from Wikipedia

As a symbol of hospitality, I love having pineapples included in my decor. I have some carved in wood or made of ceramics, others adorn a favorite tablecloth and a set of napkin rings and yet another is the motif for my outdoor fountain. Thanks to my friend Lily @ Blahwg-Life on and off the farm, I now have a set of beautiful white porcelain pineapple candleholders! The fact that pineapples remind me of a tropical island, is the icing on the cake.

If you feel the same way, you might be as surprised as I was to learn that  Florida was the first state to commercially produce pineapples!

You can read all about the history of the pineapple in the United States at the University of Central Florida where I read this:

"In America, commercial production of pineapples began in earnest in Florida in the late 19th century. In fact, for a short time, Florida was among the world's most prolific producer's of pineapple. However, by the 1930s, pineapple production in Florida began to fall off, largely due to changes in climate and increased competition from central America and Hawaii. 

According to some sources, pineapples were introduced to Hawaii as early as the 16th century. But pineapples weren't canned in Hawaii until about 1885, and the American territory did not become world famous for its pineapples until Jim Dole founded his highly successful Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901. Remarkably, by the 1920s, the pineapple was Hawaii's largest industry, and, until recently, Hawaii was the world's largest producer of canned pineapples."

Learning that pineapples played a role in our history was all it took for me to hit The Florida Memory State Library & Archives to search for some images.

I found lots of photos and postcards and thought I would share them with you…

From photo…

to postcard…

Going to Market — Late 1800s

Pineapples of the Florida Keys  c1880

Schooner Lillie of Key West loaded with pineapples between 1880-1900

Sally is standing in her father's pineapple garden in Brooksville, Florida - 1899. He had just put in an irrigation system.

Winterhaven c1880-1900

Agricultural laborers loading pineapples in a field on October 13, 1905

Pineapples in Transport — Volusia County c1910

Pineapple Boat c1910

Pineapple Field  c1920

Harvesting Pineapples in Indian River  c1920

Indian River Pines Label — Eldred, Florida

Fifteen Pound Pineapple Postcard - Postmarked March 14, 1922

Growing pineapples : Florida Postcard - Postmarked May 13, 1937

A good wagon load

Florida Pines

Pineapple Farm in Florida

A Pineapple Field

Pineapple Farm

Pineapple Grove

Whether grown in a field, a farm or a grove, I LOVE pineapples!

Did you know that you can…

Grow Your Own Florida Pineapples!

While pineapples are no longer grown commercially in Florida, our soil and climate make them a wonderful addition to our gardens. You can learn how to grow your own pineapples in Florida on this page at University of Florida IFAS Extension.

"Although pineapples are no longer a uniquely American product, the symbol of hospitality still looms large in both Florida and Hawaii, for the most important industry in both states today is... the hospitality and tourism business!"

That's it for today folks, I have to go now — 

I'm suddenly in the mood for a Pina Colada!

22 Thoughtful Comments:

michelle said...

I knew that pineapples represented hospitality but had no idea the history that they had in America. I love the old photos and postcards and how fun to grow your own.
Thanks for the info and have a wonderful day!!!

Loui♥ said...

what a neat, informative post!!
I too love pineapples..
as a kid, when we would drive down to "south Florida", there was a place we always stopped and had fresh pineapple juice.. oooh!..
so cold and delicious! Daddy could always find the neatest places to stop for refreshment breaks on those long trips..
think I'll go and have my fresh pineapple for breakfast on this chilly winter day!
warmest hugs..

Jane said...

Make that 2 pina coladas!!! Maybe a twirl of raspberry in the middle...

What an interesting article! My grandmother used to grow pineapples in her Davis Island back yard...there seemed to be one ready for picking whenever we visited.

Now I'm really in the mood for a fresh pineapple...I'm heading to the Safety Harbor market NOW!

Simone @ Doberman's by the Sea said...

What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately I am highly allergic to citric acid:)

rjerdee said...

Pineapple Plantations, eh? Who knew...yet again, you've tossed us another educational piece!!! Thanks!

Sue said...

I'll have mine served in the pineapple please! I didn't know they came from Florida...but I do love fresh pineapple, so that figures.

Della said...

I love fresh pineapple, and I love the photos of the pineapple plants in the fields. I save the cut off top from my pineapples and plant them in pots. It takes a couple of years, but you can grow a pineapple to eat!

Simple Daisy said...

Wow...what a history....I had no idea! Now I want to eat a pineapple:):)

CHERI said...

Thanks for the interesting history lesson:) I love fresh pineapple. And please do count me in on that PINA COLADA...I make an awesome one so come over sometimes and I'll fix you one!

Seaside Style said...

So glad I found your blog! Love the pineapple article. I knew it represented hospitality, i loved learning the history. I am new to blogging so it was great to find you through our mutual blogging buddies. Thanks for sharing!

Desert Dreaming said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Desert Dreaming said...

This is an awesome post...just fell in love with those old pictures along with the history, espcially since I live in Florida and I never knew this. I love Pina Coladas so much, mostly the virin kind, you can taste the freshness more, but as of late, because of our warmer weather, I've been making the Pina Aqua Fresca by "huge" pitchers full for my family. It's so light, full pineapple flavor and refreshing, served cold over lots of ice, in a huge tall glass...nothing better and only made with fresh pineapple! Thank you for sharing this great info. And...I hope you were able to get to the "Taco Bus",if so, I hope you enjoyed it. We're going again this weekend on the way to Tampa...

Have a great sunny and beachy weekend!!!


The Florida Blogger said...

When we lived in Africa we would drive past acres and acres of pineapple fields (groves?). It was a little strange.

Roos said...

wow , it`s my first time here on your blog and really love it .
you take such beautiful picture`s and talk great about it .
im going to follow you and watch every week at your blog what kind of post`s you will have .

thanks for sharing .

greetings Roos
the Netherlands

Tybee Bound said...

I lived in Jensen Beach Florida for most of my life until 2 sisters, Hurricanes Jeanne and Francis, destroyed my house and I had to move. In Nov every yr we would have the Pineapple Festival to celebrate that in the early 1900's Jensen Beach was considered the Pineapple Capital of the World. Like u I lOVE pineapples. said...

Everytime I see pineapples I think of India Hicks Book "Island Life". They are such a tropical fruit.

Joy Tilton said...

loved, loved the old pictures and postcards! What a great informative post on a yummy fruit that makes my day happy! Hubby hails from Tampa and pineapple is his favorite...

Ms. Bake-it said...

Hi Rhonda!

Love all the information and images! I had my very own homegrown pineapple last year and am looking forward to when our new plants begin producing. It is a long wait but so worth it!


Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Hahahaha...I was totally thinking Pina Colada, and then I got to the end of the post. :-) Great minds...

I could eat my weight in pineapples (if they are fresh from the tree ripe and delicious). And I assure you that's a LOT of pineapple.

Unknown said...

Hello Rhonda, I love your site. Very informative. I live on the barrier island east of Melbourne, Florida and have long known it had a history of pineapple production. However, I have been unsuccessful at finding detailed history of pineapple growth from the Sebastian Inlet north to Cape Canaveral. Do you have any resources? Thanks again for a terrific post.

Shellbelle said...

Hey JerryNic, I don't know if you'll see this reply, but since I have way to contact you, this will have to do.

Check out this web page:

"U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries,
Fisheries of Indian River, Florida
Gov't Printing Office, 1897

In 1895 the Indian River contributed over 2,500,000 pounds of food fish to the public markets. While the business of taking green turtles antedates the civil war, the fisheries proper did not begin until 1878, when a smack from Connecticut visited one of the inlets with seines and nets, and caught fish for the Savannah market.

This section of Florida was sparsely settled and practically inaccessible except by water prior to the building of the railroad to Titusville, at the northern end of the river, in 1885. In 1895 there were nineteen firms with headquarters at 9 points, as follows: Titusville, Cocoa, EauGallie, Melbourne, Sebastian, Fort Pierce, Eden, Jensen, and Stuart. The severe cold of 1894—95 resulted in a relatively large increase in the number of fishermen, as the distruction of the orange and pineapple orchards caused a number of men to engage in the fishing business."

Also, check out your local historical society for more information on pineapple growing in your area.

CrazyCris said...

Even though I really don't like pineapples, that's a really cool history lesson! :o)

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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