Have you ever wondered what you should do with the top of the pineapple that you purchased at the store? You can plant it in the ground, water it and it may grow into a pineapple plant that gives you another pineapple.
Pineapples grow well in Hernando county. The editor of the Brooksville Star began JC (John Cabell) Burwell planted pineapples in his backyard. There is a beautiful photo from 1899 of his daughter Sally standing in the pineapple garden at their house on Olive Street in downtown Brooksville.
Pineapples were an early crop to be tried in Florida. Benjamin Baker is credited with being the first to try to grow pineapples starting in Key West in the 1860s. Baker then started to grow them on Plantation Key and Merritt Island and shipping them to cities in the northeast.
Many other Floridians started to grow pineapples and in 1908 Florida growers produced over a million crates of pineapples. However, Cuba was able to grow and ship the pineapples cheaper and they decided to flood the market. Add to that "red wilt" that rotted the roots of pineapples in the Indian River area, a shortage of fertilizer, and two hard freezes and the pineapple industry in Florida faded away.
The pineapples grown from pineapple tops are generally smaller and taste sweeter than their parent pineapples. Some people have reported that some of the second generation pineapples lacking in taste, but that has not been our experience.