A $16,000 British pineapple one of the world’s most expensive fruit

Lia Grainger
Shine OnDecember 27, 2012

What makes a pineapple worth $16,000?

No matter how sweet and tasty, chances are most of us would answer, “Nothing.”

Yet according to a group of gardeners in Britain that grow the fruit far from its traditional tropical climate using Victorian growing techniques, their tiny crops of the fruit require such an investment of time and materials that they estimate a single fruit to be worth $1,933, and also estimate it would sell at an auction for more than $16,000.

According to the Telegraph, these pineapples are believed to be the world's most expensive fruit.

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The pricy pineapples are grown in The Lost Gardens of Heligan, a 200 acre estate filled with lush gardens that have been lovingly restored over the past three decades.

Back then, having a pineapple on the table was a sign of wealth. After all, how the heck do you get a pineapple in dreary old England? The answer, surprisingly, lies in horse urine and manure.

The fruits were grown in a special designed “Pineapple Pit.” It’s essentially a sunken greenhouse flanked by two trenches that are regularly filled with rotting horse manure and urine. As the the horse excrement decomposes, it generates heat, which flows through the pit’s hollow walls to warm the growing fruit.

If this sounds less than appealing, the garden staff are quick to point out the fruits never come in contact with the horse doody. In fact, the second pineapple ever grown at the Heligan Pineapple Pits was gifted to the Queen on her 50th wedding anniversary, and if it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for you.

If you’d like to get your hands on one of these fruits, too bad, because they’re not for sale. The current crop took seven years and tons of manure to grow, so much time and material that they estimate the fruit would fetch close to that exorbitant $16,000 price tag at a charity auction.

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When it comes to expensive fruit, nothing touches these pineapples, though in Japan, the appetite for pricy, perfect fruit means that some items come close.

At the Senbikiya shop in central Tokyo, you can buy a set of three melon for $419 dollars, or a box of 12 perfectly matched strawberries for $83, reports the BBC. A single large apple goes for $25 at this shop, where every piece of fruit is perfectly shaped and blemish-free.

Ringing in closer to the Victorian pineapple price point are Japan’s Ruby Roman grapes. These plump juicy berries only win the distinction of being Ruby Roman if they weigh at least 20 grams each, have a sugar content higher than 18 per cent, and have the colour of a cherry tomato. They come in different class levels, and few make the highest cuts, with only six grapes in the 2010 harvest being named “premium class.” A single bunch of Ruby Romans can go for as much as $6400, reports the Wall Street Journal.

While these glorified fruit salad ingredients sure sound tasty, perhaps you'll want to stick to a simple Macintosh apple?

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