TOKYO: A greengrocer in Japan is selling fruits on exorbitant rates and what makes the fruit price so excessive are their ‘odd-shaped’ look.
Established in 1834, ‘Sembikya’ is Japan’s oldest-running greengrocers.
Although the price tag could be seen on a new car, it was a bargain compared to last year, when a box of two melons sold for US$20,670, the highest bid ever, reported the Wall Street Journal in a blog.
The price of yubari melons varies depending on their size and class. One can go for more than US$100 in Tokyo’s department stores.
According to CNN, cultivating these luxury fruits involves meticulous and labor-intensive practices. Although the way Japanese farmers grow these beauties is a secret, it was revealed that sometimes it takes 45 days to grow one strawberry and usually sell for 500,000 yen ($4,395) (0.423 million Pakistani rupee) each. The strawberries even have a special name – Bijin-hime, which means “beautiful princess”.
One strawberry is $4,395.
Sembikkya is most famous for its oddly shaped fruits, and has sold heart-shaped watermelons, grapes the size of ping pong balls and tennis ball-sized strawberries to its image-conscious customers for almost 200 years.
The Yubari melons, which were carefully cultivated, are the epitome of a growing trend in the country – luxury fruit.
These range from strawberries the size of tennis balls, to ruby roman grapes to geometric melons. Fruits are treated differently in Asian culture and in Japanese society especially.
It is not only an important part of their diet, but, perhaps more importantly, fruit is considered a luxury item and plays an important and elaborate ritual part in Japan’s extensive gift-giving practices.
The fruit also tastes far sweeter, which makes it a delicacy and a status symbol.
One of the most popular items in-store at the moment are ‘Ruby Roman’ grapes, which grow to be as large as ping pong balls.
The grapes, which first went on sale in 2008, were grown to fill a gap in the luxury gift-giving market, according to Ruby Roman spokesperson Hirano Keisuke.
Today, branches sell for around 100,000 Yen (£720) each, but the company only brings 2,400 bunches to market each year.
WATCH: Here’s how these fruits are cultivated