It Turns Out I Wasn’t Fooled After All


I’m back from vacation with a quick story to share.

On October 5, 2010 — back when this newsletter was only going to a few hundred or maybe a thousand people — I wrote a story titled “Pineberries.” If you read the article, it’s about white berries that look like strawberries but, well, are white. And they don’t taste like strawberries, per my own writing; I said “pineberries don’t taste like normal strawberries.  They taste like pineapples.” The picture above is the picture I originally used.

Within a day or two, I received back some pretty skeptical responses. First, the source I used for the story was the Daily Mail, which isn’t the most reliable of sources; in fact, it’s so unreliable that in 2017, Wikipedia’s community of editors decided to ban it as an acceptable primary source for citations. Second, Daily Mail story barely cited any sources itself, only talking to a fruit buyer for a grocery store — and that grocery store seemed to be the only place you could get these berries. And finally, as many, many readers pointed out, the Daily Mail article was dated March 31, which is to say, only a day before April Fool’s Day. As those readers pointed out, there’s a very good chance that the Daily Mail was the victim of a prank — or perhaps, they were in on the joke and published a day early. The image above? It also came from the Daily Mail. And in any event, one thing was sure: none of my readers had ever seen or even heard of, a pineberry.

Over the years, I became increasingly convinced that I was fooled. I wrote the article in 2010. You’d think, just by accident, I’d stumble across another article about pineberries or — well, something that would at least allude to their existence. But as the years ticked on by, nothing came up. A few years ago, I even considered removing the story from my archives, concerned that it was just plain wrong. 

And then, about two weeks ago, I found these at a local market.

Actual pineberries. Yes, I bought them — they’re on my kitchen table above, and cost me $5.99. And yes, I tried them. They taste faintly of pineapple, but only barely; they’re mostly bland and definitely not worth the $5.99. Which is probably why they’re so hard to come by — they’re just not very good.

But I’m not disappointed. It was definitely worth my investment.

The Now I Know Week in Review

Monday: Reversing the Charges: The guy who beat the credit card companies?

Tuesday: The Last Exit on the Information Superhighway: The one place in the U.S. where you cellphone won’t work and that’s probably a good thing.

Wednesday: The Nohtaram Runner: Dedication and reslience, but in reverse.

Thursday: The Onion Ring That Got People in Trouble: A futures market rule that has something to do with a 1980s movie.

As for the long reads…

They’ll be back next week. Vacation meant I didn’t do a lot of long-form reading this week! So I don’t have much to share.

Have a great weekend!