The Last Harvest

HC&S offseason

PUUNENE — In the part of the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. mill where the process begins to break down sugar cane stalks, millwrights are working on a piece of equipment that will run around the clock once the harvesting starts. Called the knife, it has no blades but a ...

A last blessing

PUUNENE — After photos were snapped and the crowd of shaka-waving workers cleared out, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. employees Brady Borg and Donnie Tablang stayed behind, absorbed in a discussion over the leafy green stalks of cane that had been cut for Tuesday’s season-opening ...

Tournahaulers

Sixty tons of sugar cane stalks smolder in the dinosaur’s massive belly as it lumbers into the intersection and briefly spans all four lanes of highway before disappearing into the island night, tail end wobbling as it goes. Found only on Maui and soon to be extinct, the 14-foot-tall, ...

At the wheel of a Tournahauler

My most vivid memory from the first day I drove a Tournahauler has nothing to do with rumbling down a cane haul road. It was watching a cattle egret swallow a rat nearly as big as itself. “Naw, it’ll never get that down,” said the driver sitting next to me in the towering cab. “Too ...

Maui Brand

PUUNENE — Large amber-colored sugar crystals pour into containers like glistening jewels carefully handled by Maui Brand workers at the Puunene Mill. The label, owned by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., is well-known for its distinct appearance and natural taste, adding a ...

Feeling the burn

PUUNENE — Fermin Domingo points his gas blowtorch out the window of his dusty red truck and ignites the dried sugar cane. He then methodically drives 20 feet to light another stack of cane, then another and then another. Domingo and two other “fire boys” from Hawaiian Commercial ...

Many learned a trade

When Koa Martin first started working for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. in the late 1990s, he and his co-workers had their hands full toiling over machines in both the Puunene and Paia sugar mills. “I think I worked straight seven days a week, 12 hours a day, around the clock for ...

Losing a shipping scale

As sugar operations wind down this year, an elevated scale to weigh sugar and molasses will be closed, and that will prompt some Maui businesses to look elsewhere to weigh their containers before shipping them on barges. The scale at Kahului Trucking & Storage near the Kahului Harbor ...

One final push

In a great big basin of thick, goopy molasses, a set of wheels slowly rotates, sinking into the pool of shiny liquid and emerging with a viscous, dark brown coating that slides off and flaps in the wind before dripping back into the basin. In the Puunene Mill at Hawaiian Commercial & ...

Shipping sugar

KAHULUI — The sun-baked, wind-blown sugar cane that Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. burns, harvests and mills arrives here, where soft raw sugar crystals form more than several-story-high mountains of golden sweetness. Kahului Trucking & Storage Co. hauls about 150,000 tons ...

‘End of an era’

PUUNENE — Sugar workers, retirees and company officials expressed sadness as well as pride as they witnessed “an end of an era” Monday with the delivery of the last load of sugar cane from the fields to the Puunene Mill. Fermin Domingo, a 40-year veteran of Hawaiian Commercial & ...

Going, going, gone

KAHULUI — Now, sugar really is gone. On Friday, the same day that Puunene Mill smokestacks stopped puffing, the last shipment of Maui-made sugar was carried out of Kahului Harbor. Bound for a refinery in California, the 685-foot-long Moku Pahu held 32,000 tons of sugar and 2,000 tons of ...

The Last Harvest

Sunday, January 22, 2017 publication. Purchase additional copies of The Last Harvest for $2.00 each at the Maui News Circulation Department Hours of Operation: Mon - Fri 8:00am–3:00pm 100 Mahalani Street, Wailuku (808) 242-6363 Across from the Cameron Center & Next to Kaiser