After what seems a year of thinking about it, we've finally planted pineapples. Not that it's very difficult, it's just that it took time going back and forth and round and round discussing which to plant, where to plant and finally how to plant. In the end it took someone calling the farm and saying they had 300 suckers for sale. And so 3 days later we have a pineapple patch.
Pineapples reproduce in one of two ways - through seeds (rare these days, but possible through cross-pollination of different varieties), or through suckers. The suckers come three ways - the crown of the pineapple, from the base of the fruit and from the base of the plant itself. The basal suckers are the fastest producers, and can fruit in as little as 9 months, the suckers which grow from under the fruit take about a year to produce, and the crown takes around two years to give fruit. I always plant the crowns, usually as a hedge line or an unobtrusive part of a landscape, but the farmer is only interested in growing the basal suckers - sure, it's quicker.
We have planted the 300 on 'sun dog hill', a south-ish facing slope by the house. 300 plants don't take up much room: pineapples are planted closely together to provide support for each other. Their roots provide anchoring and stability, so there's no real competition for soil nutrients among the plants. The pineapple feeds like other bromeliads: obtaining its nutrients through the pools which form at the base of the leaves.
Now that we've started, the idea is to plant another 300 in 2 or 3 months time so that we can stagger the harvest somewhat (300 pineapples is a lot for one breakfast!).