PLANT CITY, Fla. - Pineberries are now on grocery shelves in Florida, but what are they? If you’re suddenly thinking of a pine or fir, you’d be barking up the wrong tree.
The pineberries are ripe for the picking in the fields of Wish Farms: A pale blushed, white strawberry. They’re supposed to be that color. The naturally white, pink-tinted hybrid strawberry now being grown in Florida gets its name from its pineapple scent.
"It has a little bit of normal strawberry sweetness, tartness but the aroma and aftertaste is really unique," says Nick Wishnatzki of Wish Farms. They call their variety "Pink A Boo."
The inside of a pineberry is white like the outside.
"My family has been in the biz for 100 years so I've been eating strawberries since I was a little kid and I've never experienced anything like this," he said. "It's totally unique and delicious."
Some say they taste like pineapple or pear, but I found them to be peach-like.
UF Professor Vance Whitaker bred the variety by cross-pollinating Japanese and Florida plants just in time for West Central Florida's harvesting season.
"My job is to breed strawberries. Having a different segment makes the value larger, right? It amplifies everything," Whitaker explained. "It becomes a niche of the industry, and a product. You now have pineberries in the store and everyone can have access to and it complements red and makes them more valuable to the grower."
Believe it or not, this white strawberry is ripe as can be.
Since they’re a specialty they tend to be more expensive, costing about double the regular red variety. Wish Farms is hoping to appeal to consumer curiosity.
"Berries are kind of an impulse buy anyway when shopper sees them on the shelf -- they're like, 'How about that?'" Wishnatzki said.
This first season is a bit of a trial run, but growers say expect to see them widely in grocery stores by next year.