The island of Hokkaido, Japan is host to a great many specialty food items, including the infamous Yubari King melon. The small city of Yubari is known for its cantaloupe growing season, which is why the Yubari King melon is only grown there. But why is Yubari famous for a cantaloupe cultivar, and how much do these melons even cost?
In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about the Yubari King melon, including how much it costs on average. We will also go over why this particular melon is so expensive in the first place. Finally, we will tell you what the cantaloupe cultivar tastes like and where you can find them if you have the budget to afford one! Let’s get started now.
Yubari King Melons: A Brief History
It is unclear when the Yubari King melon first came to be, but it is what put this particularly sleepy city of Japan on the map. Thriving in greenhouses throughout the city, these melons are grown to a very specific standard and were created as a hybrid of two other types of cantaloupes. After discovering Burpee’s spicy cantaloupe cultivar in Europe, cantaloupe growers in Yubari decided to use it to create their own cantaloupe cultivar.
Crossed with the Earl’s Favorite muskmelon cultivar, Yubari King melons grow in just over 100 days. They are classic cantaloupes in the sense that they have a particular odor, similar to honeydew and other muskmelons. These cantaloupes are also known for their intricate and delicate netting around the outside, which is one of the reasons why they are so expensive. But just how expensive is this melon on average?
How Much Do Yubari King Melons Cost?
The average cost of Yubari King melons varies drastically depending on the growing season. However, a single melon can cost an average of $50 to $100 at specialty produce stores in Japan, with many other melons going for a much higher rate at auction. In fact, the most recent auction of these melons generated a sale price of just under $30,000 for two melons.
While you can grow your own Yubari King melons from seed in your own backyard, they technically won’t be true melons unless you live in Yubari itself. The particular region in which these melons are grown lends to their overall flavor and status. That’s why if you truly want to purchase a Yubari King melon, you should make sure that it comes directly from its namesake city in Japan!
Why Are Yubari King Melons So Expensive?
There are a number of reasons why these particular melons are so expensive. For example, the melons grown in Yubari are tended to with such care and specific requirements that this leads to an increase in their purchase price. Attendants essentially babysit Yubari King melons as they grow, cleaning them and checking on them daily.
Besides the staff needed to take care of these particular cantaloupes, the growing standards and flavor requirements of these melons are also unmatched. Not only are these melons cleaned and checked on daily, but any cantaloupe that doesn’t develop a beautiful netting on the outside of its rind won’t make the cut.
Fruit is also often sold to be given as gifts in Japan, likely leading to an increase in the price of this highly prized and sought-after cantaloupe. Not only does it taste delicious, but the ability to purchase one of these melons is reserved for middle and upper-class individuals with the budget to support it! Just like many other types of fruits sold in Japan, these melons are a status symbol and special gift for many reasons.
What Do Yubari King Melons Taste Like?
According to the people in the world lucky enough to purchase and consume one of these melons, the sweetness is apparently unmatched. Similarly to the Ruby Roman grapes also grown in a very specific region of Japan, a juicy and sweet Yubari King melon is a luxury that you’re lucky to experience in your life.
The bright orange color matches the flavor of this melon, as it has honied notes and saccharine sweetness. The flesh of this melon is also very crisp and refreshing, not nearly as mushy as other cantaloupe varieties. Finally, Yubari King melons also have a distinct scent and aroma before they are opened, sweeter, and more refined compared to other muskmelons.
Where Can I Find Yubari King Melons?
Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult to find Yubari King melons outside of Japan. Even in large cities such as Tokyo, these melons are rare and expensive. Depending on the harvest and overall growing season, these melons may not be readily available anywhere except for the most expensive and specialty-grade grocers in Japan.
However, you could get lucky and find a website that sells these melons, capable of shipping them directly to your door. It’s a good idea to pay attention to these websites if you are serious about purchasing one, even if it does cost you a few hundred dollars. They typically sell out quickly and these melons also rot quickly. If you do buy one, plan on eating it right away so that you can enjoy its full flavor before it’s too late!