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Square [ box ] Watermelon

Posted by editor On May - 27 - 2008

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This is a rather interesting find: square watermelon. I wish to be able to see it on a first-hand basis though, but they are not available in the US, and although they are available, it’s at approximately $83.00 each … so it’s rather expensive to consume one. So here’s part the story:

Farmers in the southern Japanese town of Zentsuji have figured out how to grow their watermelons so they turn out square.

It’s not a fad. The technique actually has practical applications. “The reason they’re doing this in Japan is because of lack of space,” said Samantha Winters of the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Orlando, Florida.

A fat, round watermelon can take up a lot of room in a refrigerator, and the usually round fruit often sits awkwardly on refrigerator shelves.

But clever Japanese farmers have solved this dilemma by forcing their watermelons to grow into a square shape. Farmers insert the melons into square, tempered glass cases while the fruit is still growing on the vine.

The square boxes are the exact dimensions of Japanese refrigerators, allowing full-grown watermelons to fit conveniently and precisely onto refrigerator shelves.

But cubic fruit comes with a caveat: Each square watermelon costs 10,000 yen, the equivalent of about $82. Regular watermelons in Japan cost from $15 to $25 each.

At $82 apiece, Winters said she didn’t know if there would be a market for square-grown watermelons in the United States.

read the rest of the story here

more from BBC Asia-Pacific:

For years consumers struggled to fit the large round fruit in their refrigerators.
And then there was the problem of trying to cut the fruit when it kept rolling around.

The farmer, from Zentsuji in Kagawa prefecture, came up with the idea of making a cube-shaped watermelon which could easily be packed and stored.

To make it happen, farmers grew the melons in glass boxes and the fruit then naturally assumed the same shape. Today the cuboid watermelons are hand-picked and shipped all over Japan.

But the fruit, on sale in a selection of department stores and upmarket supermarkets, appeals mainly to the wealthy and fashion-conscious of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan’s two major cities.

Each melon sells for 10,000 yen, equivalent to about $83. It is almost double, or even triple, that of a normal watermelon.

link: CNN, link2, link: BBC.

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