National

Yubari melons fetch record ¥3.2 million at season’s first auction

Kyodo

A pair of melons grown in Yubari, Hokkaido, fetched a record ¥3.2 million in the first auction of the season Saturday at a wholesale market in Sapporo.

The bid was more than twice as much as the ¥1.5 million paid in the first auction of Yubari melons last year and outstripped the all-time high of ¥3 million set in 2016.

“I wanted to make a record-setting bid by all means” as this year is the 30th anniversary of the company’s establishment, said Hokuyu Pack President Shinya Noda, who won the auction for his fruit and vegetable packaging company.

A total of 507 melons shipped from eight farmers in Yubari, which is well known for its melons, were auctioned Saturday, according to the city’s agricultural cooperative.

The record-setting pair of melons will be displayed until the end of the month, with pieces of them to be given away at the market free of charge later.

In March 2007, Yubari became the nation’s first municipality to declare bankruptcy. The city has been trying to rebuild its finances over the past decade.