The pineapple growers of Maydolong, Eastern Samar have been growing the sweetest, juiciest fruit organically for decades on intensely fertile soil. In 2011, they were given a production facility by the government to make vinegar, jam, and "tidbits" (apparently the term for those pineapple bits on pizza). Though things have been slow to start for them, the community is getting ready for the harvest season (roughly around July til September, but you know how the climate is these days).
After Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the region, NGOs descended upon communities to provide assistance. A Czech NGO called People in Need (PIN) began supporting product development for agricultural startups, one of them being the pineapple producers. PIN got in touch with us because we had an existing project in cooperation with them, and for months now we've been throwing the idea around of coming out and taking a look.
And we finally did (Samar is gorgeous!). After a 3 hour ride from Tacloban to our lodgings, we took a 2.5 hour ride to Maydolong to the pineapple production facility. It's quite a full setup from the Department of Science and Techbology, and they even have like 3 years worth of glass jars that came with the grant. The space doesn't have piped in water yet, but they find ways to bring fresh water during production.
We were expecting the Ormoc Queen type (as Ormoc is close by and, well, generalizations), the long, skinny, sweet-yet-fibrous one. But the farmers in the area grow the "Hawaiian" type, which is fatter and also very VERY juicy. Never eaten juicier pineapples. The fruit takes 2 WHOLE YEARS to mature. 2 years! Like a tree crop. Aside from this long growing period, during peak season, when there is an avalanche of pineapples, some of the harvest just rots away, or the pineapples are sold for close to nothing.
Hence the beginning of this little project of ours, for sure we will try to give updates as we make more progress.