A western Japan city known for its ornamental square watermelons began this year’s shipments on Monday, with each fruit priced at about 10,000 yen ($70).
A total of eight growers plan to deliver around 300 cubic watermelons from Zentsuji, Kagawa Prefecture through mid-July. Harvested while still unripe, the melons are not suitable for eating and are generally purchased as ornaments.
The city began production about 50 years ago in an attempt to raise its profile, with the watermelons shaped into about 18-centimeter cubes by being grown in a square container once they reach a certain size.
The number of square watermelon farmers had been in decline in recent years, but three new young growers appeared this year.
Keitaro Sugimoto, one of them, quit his job as a sheet metal worker to become a square watermelon farmer.
“I would like to improve my skills as a farmer next year so that square watermelons will still be available in the future,” the 34-year-old said.
Source : Kyodo News