Maui Land fieldworkers pick last pineapples

AP News
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Posted: Dec 24, 2009 4:17 PM

Fieldworkers at Hawaii's last major pineapple plantation have picked their last crop.

Maui Land and Pineapple Co. shut down its century-old agricultural operation Wednesday to focus on real estate development.

The company says its pineapple business has lost $115 million since 2002 and is no longer financially sustainable.

The company is laying off about 285 employees. Some 133 workers are being offered positions in the company's other businesses.

Hawaii's major pineapple producers have shifted growing operations to countries such as the Philippines, where labor is cheaper.

Former and current Maui Land employees hope to form a new company that would continue growing, packing and selling Maui Gold fresh pineapple.