Most Expensive Watermelon-Densuke watermelon
sets world record
ASAHIKAWA, Japan -- A 17-pound premium Densuke watermelon,
auctioned in northern Japan was sold for $6,100, setting the
world record for the most expensive watermelon ever sold.
Photo:The record setting watermelon is
a Densuke, weighs 17lb (8 kgs) and is one of the only 65 from
the first harvest of the season. Photograph by Tomoko A. Hosaka
/ Associated Press (enlarge
The watermelon, one of only 65 from the
first harvest of the season, was purchased by a marine products
dealer who said he wanted to support local agriculture, according
to Kyodo News agency. The fruit is grown only on the northern
island of Hokkaido.
In a country where melons are a luxury item
commonly given as gifts, the watermelon's hefty price tag
follows another jaw-dropping auction last month, where a pair
of Yubari cantaloupe melons sold for a record $23,500.
"This is the highest price on record for a Densuke
watermelon, and that probably means it's the highest of any
watermelon in Japanese history," said Kazuyoshi Ohira, a spokesman
for the Tohma Agricultural Cooperative in Hokkaido.
Growers expect to produce about 9,000 Densuke
watermelons this year, Ohira said. For seasonal, high-end
fruits like the Densuke watermelon and the Yubari cantaloupes,
Japanese buyers are often willing to pay top prices at auction
for the prestige of owning the very first ones of the year.
Unseasonably warm weather in April and May have
helped boost sugar content and overall quality, and consequently
prices, of the 2008 watermelons, Ohira said.
"It's a watermelon, but it's not the same.
It has a different level of sweetness"- Kazuyoshi Ohira,
Tohma Agricultural Cooperative.
The biggest watermelon of the day departed for
Tokyo immediately after the auction in Asahikawa city. By
midafternoon Friday, the 24-pounder had traveled some 500
miles south to Isetan, an upscale department store in the
capital, where it went on sale for $5,945 (630,000 yen), in
an upscale department store.
Other Densuke watermelons won't cost quite
as much. Most will retail at department stores and supermarkets
for a more modest $188 to $283, Ohira said. And what makes
a watermelon worth $200, much less $6,000? Its unusual black
skin, Ohira said. Inside, the watermelon is crisp and hard.
And, he says, it has unparalleled taste.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008