How much would you pay for a nice set of melons? Two Yubari King melons grown on the island of Hokkaido in Japan recently sold for a record 3.2 million yen ($29,473) at a Sapporo wholesale market, The Mainichi reports. High-end cantaloupes from the town of Yubari typically fetch a pretty penny — particularly at the first auction of the season. This year’s steep price tag far surpasses last year’s 1.5 million-yen ($13,830) sale and the previous record bid of 3 million yen ($27,621) in 2016.
There's a noteworthy market for wildly expensive fruit in Japan, and sought-after examples often serve as a sign of prestige or function as respectful gifts.The winning bidder, Shinya Noda, is the president of a local fruit and vegetable packing company called Hokuyu Pack, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the big buy.
“I wanted to make a record-setting bid by all means,” Noda told the outlet.
The ultra-lavish melon pair will be on display until the end of May, and then both fruits will be cut and served to Hokuyu Pack’s customers free of charge as “natsu no gifuto” or a “summer gift.” According to the gaming and culture website Kotaku, it’s customary for people in Japan to give presents such as beer, cookies, or expensive fruit to customers and clients in late spring.
We common folk will likely continue buying regular, low-cost fruit off the stand or at the grocery store, but for those looking to spend a few extra bucks on otherwise cheap dishes — put a dent in your wallet with the world's most expensive burgers, cheesesteaks, and more.