Monday, July 28, 2008
The Controversy Over The Origins Of The Square Watermelon
"All started in 1995 - Franco says - I was riding my car with a watermelon in the trunk. The road was curved and when I stopped I found the watermelon was broken in two. That was the moment I've got the idea to create a square one. First experiments went on until 1997, when I succeeded in the creation of the first square watermelon. So I showed it to my - until that moment sceptical - friends and, unexpectedly, I became a legend. All the Italian media ran to see my invention and my fame was quickly spread worldwide".
"In the 2001 summer, Japaneses launched their - very pretty ones, I admit - square watermelons, presenting them as an invention of their own. I declared it was not a Japanese invention, but I soon realized that my request to patent the square watermelons was rejected by the Italian bureaucracy in 2000 because of - so was said - a "lack of inventory activity".
"Nowadays, I am still producing my square and triangular watermelons and I am trying new shapes as well. I have worked hard to improve this technique and the last results are very good. I hope someone could be interested in my products. Moreover, I am trying to let these watermelon become a part of the gastronomical specialties of the area near Cremona, in order to further valorize them".
Japan has again shown off one of its greatest innovations - square watermelons.
For years consumers struggled to fit the large round fruit in their refrigerators.
And then there was the problem of trying to cut the fruit when it kept rolling around.
But 20 years ago a forward-thinking farmer on Japan's south-western island of Shikoku solved the problem.
The farmer, from Zentsuji in Kagawa prefecture, came up with the idea of making a cube-shaped watermelon which could easily be packed and stored.
To make it happen, farmers grew the melons in glass boxes and the fruit then naturally assumed the same shape. Today the cuboid watermelons are hand-picked and shipped all over Japan.