The Japanese thrive on novelty – and extremes. Gift-giving is no exception. Nor is fruit.
Put the two together and you have – yes – luxury fruit. So forget an expensive handbag, or designer shoes, If you want to impress that special someone in Japan, think melons. Japanese growers spend years, and millions of dollars, on cutting-edge techniques cultivating extra-large and oddly shaped fruits to sell to high net-worth clients. And they come at mouth-watering prices.
Take strawberries. Their normal growing life is artificially extended to let them swell to the size of tennis balls. The price – $3,600. Each. Berry.
Ping-pong ball-sized grapes can fetch $460 each – not for a bunch. A single grape. So if you are still peckish – and have some cash to splash – you might try and bid for the bunch of twenty-four Ruby Roman grapes which sold for $11,000 in a 2019 auction in Japan.
Yubari King Melon is one of the world’s most expensive variants. But in Japan it has to be perfect. Perfectly round and have no scars on the rind. In 2019 a pair was sold for $45,000 USD.
The Japanese believe that the first harvest of the best quality fruit brings luck to them, so they’re the most sought after. But, if nature can’t provide perfection, then novelty has a place.
Take the humble cubed Watermelon. Yup. A square fruit. Japan’s top-notch cuboid watermelons can cost $25,000 apiece.
But what was the mind-blowing science breakthrough that turned circles to squares?
You’d love to think a wacky scientist spent decades breeding these boxy bad-boys to satisfy a market demanding new heights of sophistication.
Someone just figured out how to grow them in ….. boxes.