Although Costa Rica and the Philippines now dominate the pineapple industry, it wasn’t always that way. The fruit originated in South America, but historians believe that the first country to produce pineapple for commerce was, in fact, the Bahamas. It began in the mid-19th century, peaked fifty years later, and died out almost completely in the 1920’s when a determined man named James Drummond Dole (yes, Dole) kick-started the industry in the Aloha State.
The bean-shaped island of Eleuthera was the primary grower in the Bahamas. It was convenient for all those smelly sailors, as well, to have a such a natural and prominent source of Vitamin-C to prevent scurvy on their long journeys across the Atlantic with their New World booty.
Pineapples take about two years to grow, and they tend to taste the sweetest in June – which is when Gregory Town throws a Pineapple Festival. This annual fruity madness includes a Junkanoo parade, pineapple recipe contests, pineapple eating contests, a Little Miss Pineapple pageant, crafts, dancing, and general merriment.
Gregory Town is towards the top of the island, which itself is just 50 miles east of Nassau. Celebrities like Robert De Niro and Lenny Kravitz aren’t the only ones who’ve discovered these phenomenal beaches (like Surfer’s Beach – rent a surfboard from the Courtemanche’s at Rebecca’s Beach Shop). And be sure and try some fresh pineapple while you’re there!