The Geogia College Greenhouse might be the last place one would expect to find pineapples, but the fruit has been harvested annually since 2006.
It all started in 2004 when Alex Kittle, biology major, purchased a pineapple from Kroger. Before Kittle ate the pineapple, he decided to attempt to harvest one of his own.
It is important to note that the top should be twisted off, not cut off in order to grow a new plant. Once the leafy top is twisted off, roots are
immediately present and ready to be planted in light soil in a small pot that should drain water. The plant will soon be too big for the small potand must be re-potted into a one-gallon container.
Two years later, in August 2006, Kittle’s pineapple plant produced its first fruit. The first generation of pineapple was harvested, and the leafy top was twisted off to plant in order
to continue the cycle of this generation of pineapples. Since the first harvest, the pineapple plant has produced fruit almost every year.
“We have our own pineapple productionhere,” said GC Greenhouse Supervisor Marina Barkovski.
Barkovski began working in the GC Greenhouse as a volunteer in 2004 and has been working as the supervisor since 2005.
Producing a fruit takes a great deal of time and energy for the pineapple plant. From the first appearance of a flower cluster, the fruit will take about six months until it is ready to be harvested.
The key to a healthy growing environment for the plant is a lot of sunlight and protection from frost. “There can never be too much sunlight,” Barkovski said. Once the pineapple reaches the golden-yellow hew, it is ready to be picked immediately.
Keith Moore, GC Greenhouse attendant and senior environmental science major, harvested this year’s pineapple.
“Once the pineapple is a week overripe we harvest it and cut off the brown spots. The fruit has a softer, sweeter
taste,” Moore said.
Moore began working in the GC greenhouse in August.
“I spend most of my time on the computer writing articles and modifying powerpoints, so I enjoyed harvesting this year’s pineapple,” Moore said.
One of the many perks of harvesting a pineapple, as opposed to purchasing one from the market, is that one can wait until the pineapple is about a week overripe to harvest.
The pineapples obtained from grocery stores are harvested long before they are ready to eat, so they are not as fresh as a pineapple harvested in a greenhouse.
“The pineapples harvested in the GC greenhouse are better than store-bought pineapples. They are sweeter and juicier, and smell delicious,” Barkovski said.
Some GC students were unaware of the harvest occurring annually in the GC Greenhouse.
“I never knew the GC Greenhouse was harvesting pineapples. I think it is pretty awesome. I don’t really know too much about pineapples but I didn’t think they would grow here,” said Amanda Burke, junior environmental science major.
The GC Greenhouse will celebrate its 25-year anniversary this winter.
For more information about harvesting pineapples, check out a step-by-step presentation atthe GC Greenhouse website: http://www.gcsu.edu/greenhouse/databases.htm.