05:14 GMT20 June 2021
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - A pair of premium Yubari melons fetched 2.7 million yen ($24,800) at this year's first watermelon auction in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, 22.5 times higher than the winning bid for the last year's premium fruit, media reported on Monday.

    According to the Kyodo news agency, this year's bid was won by Hokkaido Products Ltd., a local manufacturer of baby food, that plans to offer the melons for free to 10 selected families with children via its social media accounts.

    "I put in a bid hoping to encourage farmers," the company's head, Iori Kage, was quoted as saying.

    During the 2020 auction, a pair of the fruit — a signature product of the island's city of Yubari — was sold for 120,000 yen, while the highest ever bid for the melons was recorded in 2019 and amounted to 5 million yen.

    Yubari melons, also called the Yubari King, are known as a seasonal delicacy, with the first auction for the fruit marking the arrival of early summer in Hokkaido.

    melons, watermelon, Japan
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