For the first time this season the legendary Yubari King melons have gone to market and the bidding was fierce to get a taste. Yubari Kings are sometimes referred to as the “Cadillac of melons” for their beautiful design, sweet taste, and exorbitant prices. In this instance one pair of melons fetched a winning bid of 1,000,000 yen (US$12,500).
The winning bid belonged to executive director of produce wholesaler Toko Farm, Toshiaki Makita who said “It was higher than I had expected. We will give these away for free at our restaurants in Asahikawa and Tokyo with desert.”
At this market 110 of the first harvest of Yubari melons were put under the hammer, and it seems this year is shaping up to be a good one. Mr. Kazuo Watari who is the director of a produce distribution company said that this year the melons’ shapes were good and the sugar levels were high. What more could you want in your melons?
You might be wondering who in their right mind would spend tens of thousands of dollars on something that ultimately ends up in the toilet. Melons among other fruits are common gifts in Japan and as such there is a highly competitive market for immaculately grown produce.
And while that probably still doesn’t justify spending huge sums of money consider that most of us probably haven’t heard of Mr. Makita, his restuarants, or Toko Farm before he went to the fruit market. Not a bad way of getting a side order of instant PR with your Yubaris if you got the money to spend.
This may also be a beacon of brighter economic times. The record for Yubari Kings was 2,500,000 yen (US$31,500) back in 2008 before the global recession. So this year’s price is great news for those who choose to follow the outrageously-expensive-fruit price index.