It is claimed by Vital Berry that pineberries are “the oldest strawberry variety”, but they are a modern hybrid. White strawberries were endangered in the wild in South America. In 2003 Dutch farmers bred white strawberries from Southern Europe with red berry cultivars to create a hardy, prolific white hybrid.
The pineberry was sold commercially in the U.S. for the first time in 2012 between mid-May and June, having been sold in several locations in New York. Critical response has been mixed. It was publicized in Germany in April 2009 as Ananaserdbeere, i.e. “pineapple-strawberry”. It is a hybrid of Fragaria chiloensis, originating in South America, and Fragaria virginiana, originating in North America, the same parentage as the garden strawberry Fragaria × ananassa. A pineberry is smaller than a common strawberry, measuring between 15 to 23 mm (0.6 to 0.9 in). When ripe, it is almost completely white, but with red “seeds” (achenes). “The fruit flesh can range from soft white to orange and is very fragrant with a slight pineapple flavor,” said Greg Goddard, the co-creator. The plant is disease resistant, but is not very profitable, due to small-scale farming, small berry size and low yield crop.
The pineberry has been marketed to European restaurants, bakeries and wholesale markets. The berry has been dubbed “pineberry” for the UK market where it became available in 2011. White strawberries are not rare; in fact, South American natural strawberries were white and garden supply stores in the UK have other white varieties of strawberry, such as White Soul and the White Delight. Unlike the pineberry, these however are Fragaria vesca cultivars; the strawberries these plants produce are generally smaller and more fragrant.