Japanese grapes from Ishikawa fetch ¥1.10 million

Kyodo

A bunch of premium table grapes fetched ¥1.10 million Tuesday in the first auction of the season at a Kanazawa wholesale market, slightly lower than the record ¥1.11 million registered last year.

It is customary in Japan for bidders to buy the first crop of certain food products at more than the market price. The products are then used for display and later sold at normal cost or served for free.

Supermarket operator Yamanari Shoji Co., based in Ishikawa Prefecture, purchased the latest Ruby Roman grapes after a wholesaler made a successful bid for the bunch, which was among a batch of 36 auctioned off at the market.

This was the fourth straight year that the price surpassed ¥1 million.

Ruby Roman grapes, developed by the Ishikawa Prefectural Government over a period of 14 years, are known for their high sugar content, and some of the grapes reach the size of golf balls, according to the local agricultural cooperative.

The cooperative expects 26,000 bunches to be shipped this year.