Netlore Archive: Emailed pictures of square watermelons grown in special tempered glass cases by Japanese farmers.
Description: Viral images
Circulating since: June 2001
Status: Authentic / True (see details below)
Email contributed by Hager, Aug. 17, 2007:
A round watermelon can take up a lot of room in a refrigerator and the usually round fruit often sits awkwardly on refrigerator shelves.
Analysis: True. News stories about Japanese farmers growing square watermelons in tempered glass boxes began appearing in 2001, though the method had already been around for 20 years or so. Square watermelons have two distinct advantages over the traditional, oblong-shaped varieties, namely they're easier to store and easier to slice. Admiring customers were quoted as saying they couldn't afford the product, however, which sold at the time for at least twice what a normal watermelon would cost.
The British supermarket chain Tesco announced in 2006 that it had developed its own version of the square watermelon which it expected to sell at a much more reasonable price. The product is also being grown experimentally in the U.S. For adventurous home gardeners, a recent issue of the Lansing State Journal featured instructions for growing your own square watermelons using rectangular cinder blocks as molds.
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Sources and further reading:
Square Fruit Stuns Japanese Shoppers
BBC News, 15 June 2001
Japan Corners the Market on Square Fruit
CNN, 15 June 2001
Square Melons on the Way
Daily Mail, 3 August 2006
Grow a Square Watermelon
Lansing State Journal, 10 August 2007
Last updated: 09/03/07