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What does a Densuke watermelon taste like?

June 6, 2008 | 11:39 am

Melon460_3Wait a second -- $6,100 for a watermelon?

A rare type of watermelon -– the black Densuke, to be exact -– was auctioned off in northern Japan today for a record 650,000 yen (that’s $6,100), according to the Associated Press. That makes it the most expensive watermelon ever sold in the country — and possibly the world, according to the AP.

What does a Densuke watermelon taste like? Gold bullion? Has anyone out there ever tried one of these? Is it worth it? (A Japanese agricultural expert was quoted as saying the melon is crisp and hard, with an unparalleled appeal: “It’s a watermelon, but it’s not the same. It has a different level of sweetness.”)

The 17-pound black melon is considered the cream of the crop, one of only 65 from the first harvest of the season. The fruit is grown only on the northern island of Hokkaido, adding to its value. The new owner is said to be a marine products dealer who wants to support local agriculture. I wonder what he plans to do with it.

Here’s the real kicker, though. The watermelon is a bargain compared to the $23,500 recently paid in Japan for a pair of Yubari cantaloupes, the AP reported, adding that melons are a luxury item commonly given as gifts.

-- Rene Lynch

Photograph by Tomoko A. Hosaka / Associated Press

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