In his notes from Operasjon Rype William Colby tells a story about pineapple

“Our base was 30 miles away, and we reached it skiing from tree to tree, stopping only for rest. Overhead, German spotters were looking for us, and I promised the men we would lie low, keep out of sight, and sleep. But Helgeson was waiting for us. He was excited. “Nazis,” he blurted. “Fifty following you. We must leave.”

The men said nothing. Those who had unbuckled their skis quietly put them on again. In an hour, we slogged ahead, directly into territory heavily patrolled by Germans. There were Germans behind us, more overhead. Our destination was Sweden, 40 miles ahead. We made it without stop, shaking off the enemy 56 hours later at “Benzedrine Hill,” where the terrain and land mines broke both the legs and the spirits of the pursuers. This hill, called Sugartop on the map, got its new name from the amount of white tablets we consumed to scale its sheer height. It went up at 45 degrees, requiring human chains to pull up the sled. Farnsworth and I split a tablet at the start, and the others began changing their minds after about 100 feet. Sather, however, refused to the end. White-parkaed, snorting, he went up like a Missouri mule. It was to his credit we got our stuff up at all.
“I would like a dish of pineapple,” he said from the depths of his beard. “Easy,” mumbled Sather. “Just ask for it. It will be on the next plane. The Army can do anything.” He was not fooling. Operational report VI of Norso Group, Mission Rype (code name of operation) to OSS HQ Scand. Sec. 18 April says: We reached underground headquarters, where the men rested and were fed elk. That is all the Army needs to know. Other information falls into the category of personal problems that “we are not interested in, Major.” Let it suffice, then, to say the men were exhausted, stumbled half-frozen into the hut, and caved in. Helgeson sat propped against the wall, legs high, skis V-ing roofward at a crazy tilt. Sather sat next to him. The others sprawled in awkward ways, trying to remove their skis without effort. The CO sat down, too. At that moment, we were almost irregulars. We had not slept or eaten warm food for three days. The Norwegian officer was the first to speak.
Helgeson laughed. I suspect there was polite rivalry between these two so similar in background yet owing allegiance to different lands. Both came from wealthy families. Both had had early contact with the Nazi movement, having been guests at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. And both had become violent patriots when the Wehrmacht invaded their native country. At any rate, a wild session of horseplay broke out–one of those things that happen often on solemn occasions–and Farnsworth, who learned the ropes in Baltimore service stations, led the pack. “Order me up a banana split, lootenant,” he shouted and a chorus of approval filled the tiny hut. “And a hamburger and a cherry coke, Lieutenant Liverlip.” He paused for applause. “Then a T-bone steak with onions, lootenant.” The hut became a bedlam, everyone shouting for Yankee food and voicing his gripe with everything he did not like at the moment–the Army, the Air Forces, skis, Norway, snow, fjords. Farnsworth got off a classic: “Watch the fjords go by,” he said. We all felt drunk. “Shut up, Farnsworth,” I yelled. “Go ahead, go ahead, shut me up,” Farnsworth said gaily, “you old Trojan Norse.” How could anyone dislike a guy like that?
The discourse ended, I think, with everyone falling asleep–everyone but the iron man, that is, for from somewhere Sather got an elk and cooked it with Norwegian gravy. We ate, feeling wonderful–and terrible.
Progressreport 5. April: Progressreport from Operasjon Rype April 5. 1945 Then, four days later, a lone Liberator swung low over Jaevsjo and dropped the supplies we needed: food, K-rations, cigarettes, soap, one-pound rail bombs, noncom’s outfits for five, lieutenant’s bars–and a case of canned Hawaiian pineapple.” In any case, there is nothing in the reports or telegrams that confirms there were more drops at Gjefsjø after 5.April, but according to Colby’s notes, this is what happened. But the story doesn’t end here


Gjefsjø mountain farm 75 years later

Summer 2020 on a visit to Gjefsjø collecting herbs and botanicals for the Gjefsjøakevitt. Totally unknown of the pineapple story Jim Andre Stene finds tunbalderbrå in the middle of the farm’s courtyard. Jim is our botanical expert and he tells us that tunbalderbrå is Norway’s wild pineapple. Yes, in fact; pineapple! And even better; in english tunbalderbrå is named pineapple mayweed (La. Matricaria discoidea). The tunbalderbrå is may not as big as the imported pineapple, maybe not as sweet and maybe a little more bitter. But it’s Norway’s national short-lived pineapple, and it has probably been at Gjefsjøen all the time. Jim says you can dry the buds and make a tunbalderbrå-tea. Make an ice cream, sorbet, liqueur, syrup or candy it. Next time you think pineapple on pizza etc. try tunbalderbrå instead. Our own short-traveled pineapple. Of course we had to destill some tunbalderbrå for the Gjefsjøakevitt. If you are really good at tasting you may sense a hint of historic pineapple in the akevitt, from the Gjefsjø pineapple mayweed.

Colby would probably loved to hear the end of the story…
Tunbalderbrå - Pineapple Mayweed
Photo: Jim Andre Stene – Trøndelag Sankeri