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pineberrieberries
Sometimes, a picture is worth 1,000 words.  Other times, like now, they require more explanation.

What you see above are, genetically, common strawberries.  They’re a cultivar thereof — a type of strawberry specifically cultivated due to the uniqueness of the variety present.   Called “pineberries,” these strawberries originally grew in South America and were almost extinct by 2003, but was saved by a group of Dutch farmers.  The lone company to produce them claims that pineberries are actually the world’s first strawberry, but that is probably more marketing spin than actual fact.  If so, it’s unnecessary, as pineberries have a built-in marketing hook, as the differences between pineberries and “regular” strawberries is more than skin deep.  Pineberries don’t taste like normal strawberries.  They taste like pineapples.

If you’d like to taste one, however, you’ll probably have to go to the United Kingdom.  Pineberries have been for sale there since April, but are hard to grow at a profit due to low yields, smaller-than-average berries, and the the fact that they require a lot of attention (in greenhouses) to grow to full ripeness.  They’re expensive, too: a 4.5 oz bag of pineberries will run you $6.00, while (at least in New York) one can get 16 oz of the typical strawberry for half the price.

Bonus fact: The word “cultivar” and, for that matter, “pineberry,” is a blend of two or more words (in this case, “cultivate” and “variety”) into a new word, a linguistic trick which is also seen in the words “brunch” and “smog.”   This word-blend has a name: it’s called a portmanteau.

From the Archives: Miracle Berries: Berries which change the taste of other things you eat.

Related: Although it only has one review — and a one-star one at that — you can buy white strawberry seeds on Amazon. No word as to whether they’re pineberries (that is, they taste like pineapple) or just simply regular strawberries with mixed-up colors, as the one reviewer could not get the berries to grow.

Originally published

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