Two Yubari cantaloupe melons were sold at auction in Japan on Friday for Y1.6 million ($15,730). It is one of the highest amounts of money ever paid for such fruits.
A local fruit wholesaler took the prestigious melons at the high-end fruit and vegetable sale. The fruits were sold at the third-highest price ever paid for the luxury melon brand. It is the financial equivalent of buying a small car, the international press comments.
Local consumers are used to paying high prices for fruits, as Japan is the country where just one apple can cost over $5, while a presentation pack of 20 cherries costs more than $100.
However, the impressive sum paid at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in northern Hokkaido reflects buyers’ desire for prestige.
Buying Yubari melons is considered to be a status statement in Japan, just like drinking a fine wine, with many buyers giving the fruits as a present to friends and colleagues.
A pair sold at auction for a record 2.5 million yen in 2008, partially due to a degree of sympathy for the town of Yubari that produces the melons and which went bust in 2007.
Yubari melons are considered to be the best when they look like perfect spheres with a smooth, evenly patterned rind. A T-shaped stalk is left on the fruit, which is usually sold in an ornate box.