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Man Pays $11,000 for a Bunch of Grapes

A grocery store owner in Japan recently paid 1.1 million yen ($11,000) for a bunch of grapes of the Ruby Roman variety. He now plans to put them on display in his store and then give them to customers as taste samples.

Special fruits are a status symbol in Japan, sort of like rare wines in the Western world. It’s also customary to give high-quality fruits for formal occasions like weddings, business meetings or hospital visits and there are specialized fruit shops that sell only the rarest, most perfect products, grown in special conditions to ensure they look and taste as good as possible. The truly exceptional fruits are regularly auctioned off to the highest bidder, who often gift them to people perceived to be of a higher status, as a sign of respect and appreciation.

The 30 grapes bought by Takamaru Konishi were the first of the Ruby Roman variety harvested this season. They were the size of ping pong balls, and the buyer himself called them “truly Ruby Roman gems”. Well, they better had been, to be worth $11,000, or $370 per grape.

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Fruit Breeder Creates Cotton-Candy-Flavored Grapes

They look and smell just like common table grapes, but pop one into your mouth and the first impression you get is a rush of cotton candy flavor. At least that’s what Spencer Gray, a personal chef in Culver City and blogger at Omnivorous, who has sampled the grapes says.

If you have sweet tooth but want to stay away from unhealthy treats, cotton candy grapes could be a great alternative. They have have about five grams of sugar per ounce, 12 percent more than regular table grapes, but far less than popular candy like Skittles, which have about 20 grams per ounce. Still, to many people, a grape variety that packs this much sugar and is advertised as tasting like cotton candy might seem like a gimmick to turn a natural healthy treat into junk food. But while its creator, California-based fruit breeder David Cain admits new sweeter fruit varieties are competing against candy bars and cookies, nutritionists say that’s not a cause for concern. “You would have to eat about 100 grapes to consume the same amount of calories in a candy bar,” David Heber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, told the Los Angeles Times.

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