How d’ya like them (pine)apples?

Remember that episode of Sesame Street where they show a trip to the crayon factory? That was always one of Shannon’s and my favorites. On our final visit to Costa Rica (back on the Caribbean side again), we toured a pineapple plantation and put together our own clip to show how pineapples are processed and packed up to be shipped around the world.

There are four grades of pineapple ripeness and shape that determine what happens to any given pineapple on the farm. Grade 1 fruits get shipped to the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Grade 2 are too ripe to be shipped and are sold in the local markets. Grade 3 are sliced and dried, and grade 4 are sent straight to the juicer. In addition to an interesting trip through the production facilities, we sampled more than our fair share of this fruit which symbolizes welcome and hospitality. We had fresh grade 2 pineapple, fresh grade 3 pineapple, grade 3 pineapple that was warm from having been in the drying ovens for about 4-6 hours (that was our favorite), and fully dried grade 3 pineapple. Our stomachs and taste buds were about to burst with all the fruity goodness we consumed. As you’ll see from the video, we also walked around the factory. We felt like we were in everyone’s way, but the workers were so kind and smiling and they just worked around us with speedy dexterity. Ticos seem to be a very friendly and happy bunch of people. We learned so much, but the main lesson we’ll take with us is to warm the grade 1 pineapple we buy at our Indy grocery store in the oven prior to eating it from now on. If you try the same at home, let us know what you think!

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