Late summer is the peak of Hawaiian pineapple season. Right now I have more than 20 quickly ripening in my yard. Grown simply by placing the crown on the ground these make beautiful albeit thorny plants which produce pineapples in two years.
If you would like to take pineapples home with you on your Hawaii vacation, which I highly recommend, here’s good news. You do not need to purchase pineapples at the airport or at the Dole Plantation. Unlike papayas, which require certification and treatment with gas, with pineapples you’re free to shop around for the best quality and price and bring them in your carry-on bags. So long as pineapples are in good condition, agriculture inspectors will not care whether you bought them at an airport store or from a local farmers market (which I personally recommend).
Note: check your pineapples: There should be no holes, bruises or bugs.
Pineapples are not the only approved food items for exporting. The US Department of Agriculture has a complete list of what you can and cannot bring, for travelers from Hawaii to the U.S. Mainland.
If you didn’t know, Hawaii’s agriculture protection and quarantine program has been in effect since 1888. King Kalakaua implemented it originally to protect the Hawaii coffee industry.