AOMORI – Apples featuring images of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande were packed in Aomori Prefecture on Thursday to be shipped as a gift to the French leader and others.
Employees of Sato Fukuroten Co., a farm equipment-seller in Hirosaki, carefully selected and packed apples, which also include paintings from impressionist artist Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series.
A total of some 120 decorated apples will be shipped this year.
While growing, the apples are placed in bags that block sunlight in order to make the skin pale. In autumn, a stencil is applied to the apples. As the fruit ripens, the uncovered skin reddens as normal, leaving a pattern.
Sato Fukuroten said it has been in contact with a French gardening organization about the decorated apples since the French approached the company around the year 2000.
There used to be a tradition of similar decorated apples in France and some people there are hoping to resurrect the tradition with the help of Sato Fukuroten, the company said.