Is this the world's most valuable Pineapple?
The Lost Gardens of Heligan have just cut their first pineapple of the season, grown using an authentic Victorian technique, which they calculate would have cost the equivalent of £10,000.
The miniature fruit was grown in the restored Pineapple Pit, in the Melon Yard at Heligan, using the natural warmth of 30 tonnes of manure to heat the complex Victorian structure.
Heligan, which now boasts the finest productive garden in the UK, restored the derelict Pineapple Pit after discovering it 20 years ago, covered in ivy and 5ft high brambles.
A team of horticultural and restoration experts worked alongside the Heligan Productive Gardens team, determined to unlock the forgotten 70 year old technique of growing pineapples - and they succeeded!
The second pineapple ever grown at Heligan, using the rediscovered Victorian technique, was sent to the Queen by Heligan Director Tim Smit. The first was tasted by the Heligan Gardeners to check it didn't still have a hint of 'farmyard warmth' about it!
“Heligan pineapples are like no pineapple you've ever tasted,” says Marketing Manager, Lorna Tremayne. “It's deliciously sweet, not stringy, and the flavour explodes in your mouth. One taste and shop bought pineapples will not be good enough ever again.”
Rare, exotic and hard to grow, pineapples were a symbol of great status and wealth in Victorian times. A pineapple on your dining table meant you were a person of discernment, style and affluence.
“The Pineapple Pit is a perfect example of how Heligan blends restoration, heritage horticultural techniques and a passion for gardening to produce exciting results,” said MD, Peter Stafford, who adds “However I think it’s unlikely we’ll be supplying Tesco in the near future.”
The Productive Gardens: Heligan's Productive Gardens are the largest in the UK, and visitors can see fine and rare examples of plants and horticultural expertise. They can also chat to the productive Garden team for insights and tips on gardening.
Pineapple and Heligan fans can stay in touch with the Productive Gardens, and its activities via
www.lostgardensofheligan.blogspot.com where they can also get gardening tips too.
Image: Nicola Bradley and Clive Mildenhall at Heligan