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The Pineapple: History & Hospitality, Served & Symbolized

Much more than a bright yellow tropical fruit, the pineapple commands attention with it's leathery skin and tough leaves. With an appearance named after the pinecone, you work your way through the spiky exterior and reach the soft and sweet inside. Rich in flavor (and history) the pineapple ultimately became the universal symbol of generous hospitality and warm welcome. As our team passes along the pineapple, we'd like to share the history that makes it so significant here at Normandy Farm:

  • Approximately 3,000 years ago, the pineapple is thought to have originated in the Amazon rainforest where the Tupinamba people integrated it into daily life, using the fruit to make wine, medicines, and even craft poison arrows!

  • In 1493 Christopher Columbus is said to have discovered clusters of pineapples growing in a Caribbean village. He presented them to King Ferdinand in Spain, and the pineapple obsession began.

  • By the 1550's pineapples were being shipped regularly from the Caribbean to Europe. They became a rare luxury, and were the ultimate symbol of wealth. Eventually named the "King of Fruit", one pineapple could cost as much as $8,000 in today's dollars!

  • Through the years, the fruit became an extravagant banquet centerpiece and showed immense wealth and power. The host who presented the fruit in ice creams, sorbets, and fruit candies was considered extremely generous.

  • By the 18th century, the fruit became an architectural feature, incorporated into paintings, sculptures, wallpapers, and pillars of churches and grand homes as a sign of welcome and greeting. It was also considered a peacemaker.

  • In the 19th century, Christmas in America set the stage for the pineapple's symbolism as we know it today. It was the shining star, at the top of celebratory centerpieces cascading with holly, apples and pine cones.

Here at Normandy Farm, we celebrate our team's shining stars with a pineapple pin. You may notice staff members sporting a pin (or two), which means they displayed outstanding acts of service. Who would have thought that the discovery of this fruit would have such a powerful evolution. Whether we're serving it or symbolizing it at The Farm, it is our pleasure to serve you!

Located just 25 minutes from Center City Philadelphia and situated in the heart of Blue Bell, Pa., Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center is more than a meticulously restored American landmark—it's a fully wired, high-tech hospitality venue. Relax on our grand terrace, sip a cocktail in America's oldest silo, play a challenging game of golf on our championship course, plan an event with us or dine on our delectable farm-to-table cuisine. It all adds up to One Historic Experience.


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