A single black-rind watermelon, a signature produce item from the town of Toma, in Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, sold an auction on Monday of this week for an incredible price of 300,000 yen (approx. 3,170 US dollars). As incredible as that price sounds, the winning bid for the Densuke watermelon actually matched those placed in 2011 and 2012 as well.
Monday’s auction at the Asahikawa market actually had a total of 110 of the inky-colored melons. A Toma farming cooperative says it is expecting to ship around 67,000 of the Densuke watermelons this year, with each selling to consumers at a pice of roughly 5,000 yen (53 dollars). However, the man who offered a bid of 60-times that price has been identified as 33 year old Shunichi Anzai. Supermarket chain manager says he chose the 300,000 yen amount in honor of 2013 being the 30th anniversary of Densuke production. He says that he plans to display the melon at one his outlets for customers to ogle over, and will then ask them to make their own bids to purchase it. Hopefully he realizes what a bad idea it would be to offer the 5,000 yen melons at the same time as this “treasure.”
The darker-skinned Toma watermelons are recognized across Japan for their sweeter-than-usual taste in comparison to normal melons, and make popular gifts. Anzai commented that he hopes the taste will continue to improve as the summer moves forward. For a price of nearly 3,200 dollars, he surely must.