Crate Of Oranges Sells For $9,600 In Japan

 How many mandarin oranges can you buy with one million yen — or roughly $9,600?For one fruit-loving buyer at an auction this week in Japan, the answer is just 100.

A single, 20-kilogram crate of 100 Japanese mandarins (also called mikan) hit the auction block on Thursday at Tokyo’s central wholesale Ota Market.It was the year’s first auction of satsuma mandarin oranges, a famous citrus species from Ehime prefecture, on the island of Shikoku in southern Japan.

‘Three suns’

Nishiuwa is one of Ehime’s mikan-producing regions and its semi-seedless citrus species of oranges is known for its good balance of rich and sweet flavors, its easy-to-peel thin skin as well as its melt-in-the-mouth texture.

The highest priced Nishiuwa mandarins are from one of the region’s leading brands — Hinomaru.”Hinomaru mikan are produced in a limited area on the coast of Yawatahama city in Ehime prefecture,” Shin Asai, from JA Nishiuwa’s sales department, tells CNN.

“It’s a mikan that is grown with so-called three suns — the actual sun, the reflected light from the sea and the reflected light from the stone walls of the terraced fields.

“Only about 100 farmers produce this special kind of mikan in the area.”Hinomaru Mikan this year have been particularly good quality,” Asai adds.

The high bid at Thursday’s auction was considered “a very celebratory price” to mark the beginning of Japan’s mikan season, according to a representative of Nishiuwa agricultural association.”Since the quality of the fruit of each year is evaluated at the first auction, it will greatly affect the subsequent sales,” Asai says.

“First auction is very important for the fruit industry.”The typical price of this type of high-end mandarin orange is usually around JPY7,800 (or $75) for 10 kilograms.It wasn’t the first time the sweet mandarins fetched such a staggering price in an auction — the highest bidding price last year was also in the million range.

“But considering the negative impact in the economy because of Covid-19, we were surprised and also delighted that it was auctioned off for one million yen,” says Asai.

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