THE Big Pineapple’s future was once a prickly topic of conversation.
But now the tropical monolith has re-opened, it’s providing a little sweetener for Sunshine Coast tourists this summer.
The once run-down attraction and pineapple farm has been given some overdue TLC and is ready, albeit not fully, for visitors.
Big Pineapple general manager Paul Ziebarth, a fifth generation farmer, told AAP the 16 metre attraction, cafe and the Saturday markets are all open this summer.
“We’re open and we are still growing into our skin, so to speak,” Mr Ziebarth said.
“We have a small capacity to cater for tourists.
“The cafe is open, there’s basic souvenirs and the Big Pineapple itself will be open.”
The Big Pineapple was saved from demolition when three Brisbane businessmen paid $5.8 million for the site, which includes 165 hectares across 15 titles, in August.
The pineapple fields were ploughed on Tuesday and fresh plants put in the ground.
It will take two years before the crop of pineapples will be plucked from the earth.
Mr Ziebarth said making the internal spiral staircase of the monolith safe for tourists had been high on his agenda before the re-opening last month.
“We’ve restored the pineapple, that’s one of the first jobs that we did,” he said.
“It was quite knocked around and we have put a lot of effort to get it open and restored.
“We have a long-term plan but we have a lot more things to do before we are fully back in the tourist market.”
Up to 100 local farmers provide the produce for the market, which is attracting about 3000 visitors each Saturday morning.