A small Japanese muskmelon would cost you around USD 200 (nearly Rs 15,000). This should come as no surprise, given that it is one of the most expensive fruits in the world. One can then only imagine the kind of expensive nutrients and treatments that go into successfully growing the fruit. Well, after close to a decade of studying the plant and experimenting with it, three Malaysian farmers claimed to have found the secret ingredients that go into growing the fruit. And it is not any exorbitantly-priced chemicals or fertilizers-- it is just good old music and massage.
According to a Reuters report, along with the right mix of nutrients and treatments, farmers at Malaysian company Mono Premium Melon regularly rub the melons with a soft cloth or glove. This practice is known as "tama-fuki" and is believed to enhance the flavour of the fruit. So, where does the music fit in? Well, the trio of farmers says that classical music helps stimulate growth and hence, it is played on speakers in the greenhouse.
Speaking about the care that goes into growing a Japanese muskmelon, Seh Cheng Siang, director and co-founder of Mono said, "Every single Japanese melon that you see in our farm is almost like an art piece." The company's farm is located in Malaysia's administrative capital Putrajaya.
The muskmelons that are famous across the world for their impeccable taste and spherical structure are considered a luxury item and are sold almost exclusively in high-end stores. Therefore, over the last century, Japanese farmers have spent a lot of time perfecting the fruit's cultivation.
But the farmers in Malaysia, who were experimenting with the melons, also had to face the barrier of a hot and humid tropical climate. Japan, on the other hand, enjoys a more temperate condition.
The process was not easy, Seh said, confessing that they had tried to grow over 10 varieties of Japanese melon before they hit the mark. The farmers also travelled to Japan to study the cultivation methods and implement them in Malaysia. "We have to make sure that nutrition, the watering and the fertiliser are done very consistently and precisely," Seh said.
The efforts seemed to have paid off as the first batch of 200 selected melons has sold out, the report added. When compared to their Japanese counterparts, the Malayasia-grown muskmelons were sold online for a modest price of 168 ringgit ($40.70/ Rs 3,035) each.