• Kyodo


A batch of Ruby Roman table grapes, one of the most expensive in Japan, fetched a record ¥1.1 million ($10,900) Thursday in the year’s first auction at a wholesale market in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, beating last year’s ¥1 million bid.

Of the 46 batches of Ruby Roman grapes auctioned off, the most expensive was acquired by the same supermarket in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, that paid a record ¥3 million for a pair of Yubari melons in Sapporo in May.

“I am very much honored,” said Takamaru Konishi, 37, who placed the winning bid for Kurashi Kaientai supermarket. He said he hopes it will bring heartening news to farmers in Ishikawa.

The pricey grapes will be put on display at the store and given out to shoppers for free, he said.

The Ruby Roman, a high-end variety developed by the Ishikawa Prefectural Government over a period of 14 years, has a high sugar content of at least 18 percent and does not make it to market unless each grape weighs at least 20 grams, according to the local farmers’ cooperative.

The cooperative plans to ship 20,000 batches by late September.

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