Today’s tip on our website widget mentions that this is the start of pineapple season. If you are anything like me, this tip will be reason to celebrate, because I love the rich, tangy juiciness of this fruit. Pineapples can have biting acidity, but when perfectly ripened, they can also be incredibly sweet and creamy, with a lush, juicy sweetness combined with a velvety melt-in-your-mouth texture, and delicious underlying notes that are almost vanilla-like in flavor.
Pineapple has always been one of my favorite fruits, as I mentioned in this post about my childhood memories with Cambria. This was actually the first post that I ever wrote for the blog, so you can imagine that if my love of pineapple came up in the very beginning, it is pretty serious. I used to love having pineapple upside down cake for birthdays and special occasions, and my family’s summer vacations to Hawaii made pineapple into a reminder of summer, beaches, lovely palm trees, and a place that felt like our second home.
Pineapple has been a descriptor for our Katherine’s Vineyard since my family making it, because it often exhibits some of the lush tropical flavors of pineapples and mangos that Chardonnays from the Santa Maria AVA have been known for. This means that it pairs really well with dishes that incorporate pineapple, such as salmon with pineapple and mango salsa, or our widget’s recommended pairing, Pineapple Glazed Chicken with Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay. These pairings work despite the fact that pineapple on its own doesn’t go well with wine, because combining pineapple with other foods pares down the acidity while letting the pineapple’s sweet fruitiness shine through.
Recently, my lifelong love of pineapple found an outlet when my fiancé Shaun started farming it in Hawaii. Shaun grew up in Oahu, about half an hour away from an exotic fruit farm and nursery that his uncle and aunt started. Their farm, Frankie’s Nursery, is located in Waimanalo, on the eastern side of the island. This part of the island is rainier than the rest, and has the perfect climate for growing the exotic tropical fruits that Shaun’s Uncle Frankie and Auntie Lynn have collected from countries around the world.
While growing two different types of pineapple on their farm, something unintended but lucky happened, the accidental cross-pollination of two different types of pineapples that they’d been growing. Instead of lots of pineapples of the two different types, they ended up with 100 new cultivars, all with totally unique characteristics. Of the 100, Shaun’s uncle and aunt selected the one that they thought was the best and started growing it, and since then, Shaun has been propagating it and selling it locally on Oahu. It is called the Honey Cream, and it is really delicious – with significantly lower acid than your average pineapple, and with so much sweetness it is almost like biting into a juicy candy. The lack of acidity makes the fruit feel very creamy, and its dewy sweetness reminds some people of honey – hence, the name Honey Cream!
Shaun has taken some beautiful photos of the pineapple since he started farming it, and he is kindly letting me post them here! They go in order from inflorescence, when the pineapple is just forming what will be its fruiting material, through the flowering stage, and on to the total ripeness of the pineapple. I’m posting them to show this process, but also, just because they are so gorgeous!