Mutant Pineapple 'Zululand Queen' Terrorizes Chelsea Market

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How can you eat something that cute--or that scary? The latest strangely engineered fruit to arrive at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market is from the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa: a perfectly formed dwarf pineapple, five inches from base to top of crown, including a mere 2.5 inches of fruit. The product is called Zululand Queen. Other contemporary names for the same cultivar include Ananas Victoria and Victoria Queen. Sounds awfully colonial, whot?

The Zululand Queen, which retails for $3.99, whittles down to not a hell of a lot of fruit. Nor is the flesh "Exremely Sweet and Juicy!" as the label boasts. Still, as a conversation piece, or table centerpiece, the Queen is unrivaled. The plantation and trademark is owned by Frieda's Specialty Produce, founded by Frieda Caplan on the West Coast in the 1960s. The same company was also responsible for popularizing the kiwifruit--once known as hairy bush fruit--in the United States.

Will the Zululand Queen be the next kiwifruit? I, for one, will buy it--but only if the company promises to change the name of the kiwi back to hairybushfruit!

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