Sandy Brodie’s pineapple days

Hawai‘i born-and-raised Kaua‘i resident and retired Coast Guard Reserve Captain Sandy Brodie worked at the Del Monte pineapple cannery in Iwilei, Honolulu, as a high school student during the summers of 1955, ‘56 and ‘57 — one of thousands of Hawai‘i high schoolers, who over many years spent their summer vacations working in Hawai‘i’s pineapple canneries.

Sandy’s father, Alexander “Lex” Brodie, who was born in Kekaha, Kaua‘i, also worked in the pineapple industry, at that time as superintendent of Dole’s Iwilei cannery.  

Lex, by the way, would later become famous for over 1,000 Lex Brodie Tire Co. TV commercials he produced between 1964 and 1990, featuring his “Thank you … very much!” slogan and his “Little Joe” caveman mascot.  Sandy’s great grandfather was Kaua‘i Judge C. B. Hofgaard.  

At Del Monte, Sandy was trained to make and maintain knives for Ginaca pineapple processing machines, of which Del Monte had 22 or 23. His wages were $1.15 an hour.  

Sandy recalled, “Sometimes I was called upon to be a relief feeder — taking the pine from the conveyor and setting them in the Ginaca’s feed chain. The standard speed was about 50 per minute. Handling pine all day required gloves, but somehow we all still got rashes on our arms from the juice. Feeding next to a Ginaca preempted any conversation, because the machine was so loud you had to shout at the top of your lungs. The trimmers, on the quieter back side of the machine, also had to deal with monotony, but at least were able to chat among themselves.”

On Kaua‘i, three pineapple canneries employed high school summer hires: Kapa‘a’s Hawaiian Canneries (1913-1962), Hawaiian Fruit Packers in Kapahi (1932-1973) and Kaua‘i Pineapple Co. in Lawa‘i (1907-1964).

The last remaining Hawaiian pineapple cannery closed on Maui in 2007.


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