The Frankenberry

Would you eat this berry?

Supposedly it tastes and smells like a pineapple. It’s called a pineberry, and yes, it really does exist. According to a website about berries, it’s a cross between the white South American strawberry and the red North American strawberry, and that it, “was saved from extinction when we found the original source material in France and decided to grow it on a commercial basis.”

This crazy-looking berry was introduced to the public in 2009 in Germany and its name translated into “pineapple strawberry,” according to Wikipedia.

When taste testers were asked what they thought, Rachel Dixon is quoted in The Guardian blog, Word of Mouth as saying, “So it’s some kind of freakish strawberry that doesn’t taste very nice.”

Since the berry is grown on a very small scale, with an obviously limited appeal, don’t expect to see it on your grocery store shelves any time soon. The primary market seems to be the UK, where, two years ago, the Waitrose grocery store advertised them for a limited time only.

The berries’ season appeared to be a two-week affair. From April 1-13, 2010, they sold for L2.99 ($4.50) for 4.5 oz,, and after that the price shot up to L3.99 ($6.00) as reported by ABC News.

Of course the pineberry is a novelty item. But, considering The Guardian blog was posted by Susan Smillie on 1 April 2010, that may have helped fuel suspicion that it was really just an April Fool’s joke. Well, that and the fact that Waitrose had pulled a stunt like this before with its bogus Pinanas campaign in April 2009.

Based on comments from readers on the Word of Mouth blog, there was about a 50/50 split on whether the berries even existed. Maybe if someone had actually found one of the elusive, not to mention exclusive, berries at their local store and tasted one, and liked it, the marketing campaign might have been more than a culinary footnote.

Two years after the fact, they remain as little more than a conversation piece for hardcore foodies and fops. However, they are now available in the States, in the New York area, where they were going for $5.99 for a half-pint until May 20, and then the price went to $7.99, according to an article in The New York Times.

I’m not expecting to see the albino berries make a debut at my local market any time soon.

Happy eating!


About Linda Childers

There's so much interesting stuff out there that just flies under the radar. Until I read about it, that is, and then I just have to share the wackiness.
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