Got money to burn and a sweet tooth to satisfy? Then get yourself to Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido and be sure to pack a full wallet – you're gonna need it.
The annual auction for premium Densuke black-rind watermelons took place on Monday, June 14th, at fresh produce markets in Sapporo and Asahikawa, Japan. When the hammer finally dropped in Sapporo, the winning bidder promptly paid a premium price for his black beauty: a whopping 300,000 yen or around $3,750 at current exchange rates! As extravagant as that may sound, the winning bid falls far short of the record price paid in June of 2008 when a Densuke watermelon was auctioned off for 650,000 yen (about $6,300), making it the most expensive watermelon ever sold.
Densuke watermelons are renowned for their glossy black rinds and rich red flesh, which is said to have “a different level of sweetness” compared to the familiar green-skinned cultivar. They're only grown in Hokkaido, especially the town of Toma.
This year, a total of 104 Densuke watermelons were auctioned off at the main fresh produce markets in Sapporo and Asahikawa. The latter market's auction was also successful with the winning bid of 250,000 yen (about $3,125) coming from Masuichi Fukase, president of a seafood company in Toma. Fukase must really love his melons: this marks the fourth straight year he's been the highest opening-day bidder at the Asahikawa market.
“We will display the watermelon in the office for a while,” burbled the decidely un-melancholy Fukase, “and after that we want to enjoy eating it with our customers.” Latecomers to the auction or those with less disposable yen to spend should have no fears of coming home empty-handed, as approximately 67,000 Densuke watermelons are scheduled to be shipped this season sticker-priced at a mere 5,000 yen ($62.50) each. (via Mainichi Daily News and Black to Nature)