The economy is in rough shape and it has hit us all. Even those in the custom melons industry have fell on hard times. In fact, a box of two Japanese cantaloupes recently sold for a mere US$12,000. How is a person supposed to make a living selling melons for that price? Oh, wait…
In Japan, customers are used to paying a premium for produce. Apples regularly sell for $5 and it can cost a crisp $100 for a small bunch of cherries. Melons fetch the big bucks, though–especially top-grade Yubari melons from the (you guessed it) Yubari region of the country.
In 2008, two Yubari melons sold for 2.5 million Yen, the equivalent of approximately $US30,000. That’s why the selling price of this year’s crop of melons was such a disappointment.
Average Yubari melons usually sell for “only” about $100, but some are considered higher quality than others and, thus, their prices get inflated. Top-grade Yubari melons have to be perfectly round and have a smooth rind. Their stems are left on as a decoration.