National Geographic : 1969 Oct
At the Dole plant, fruit picked in the morn ing may be canned by nightfall. Pines, as they are called, are trucked from the fields to make their way through a series of sorting, chopping, slicing, and juice-making machines. After slices are finally packed into cans by hand, only a few wisps of fuzz remain unused. Even the rind has value; it goes into cattle feed. On the packing line I met Katherine Naga fuchi, one of Honolulu's many working wives. "I put two daughters through business col lege with the money I made here," she told me. "Most of the wives in my neighborhood work to make ends meet. The schools make special arrangements to keep our kids until we can pick them up at four or five o'clock." Agriculture workers in Hawaii are the highest paid in the world, and strongly organ 524 ized. Field hands on sugar plantations earn at least $2.19 an hour, but mechanization of field and factory operations has been intense. "We use only about a sixth as many men as we did thirty years ago," Soichi Yonemori told me at the Kahuku sugar plantation on the northern tip of Oahu. No hand-cutting of cane takes place in the fields. When the cane is ripe, the sea-green fields are burned, filling the air with billowing black smoke and the smell of braised sugar. The fire removes the leaves, leaving the stalks, protected by their high sap content. Then bulldozers scoop the stalks into piles to be trucked to the mills.* Many workers displaced by mechanization *The pineapple and sugar industries were described by Frederick Simpich, Jr., in "Because It Rains on Ha waii," NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, November 1949.