The sweetest Japanese peaches grow in Fukushima

ABC News

Japan is home to the world’s sweetest peach, and it just happens to grow in Fukushima

By North Asia correspondent Jake Sturmer and Yumi Asada in Fukushima

A man in a blue t-shirt and white glasses examines a peach on a tree
Koji Furuyama says growing the world’s sweetest peaches will help restore pride and prosperity to Fukushima.(ABC News: Yumi Asada)

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Would you buy a $7,000 peach? A fruit so juicy, so sweet, so perfect you just don’t care about the sticky nectar dribbling down your face?

What if it came from Fukushima, infamous for one of the worst nuclear accidents in modern memory?

Before the disaster, peaches from around here were prized for their exceptional taste and luscious texture.

But on March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered one of the world’s worst accidents of the nuclear power age.

As radiation spewed from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, tens of thousands of residents were forced to flee their homes — some never to return.

While radiation levels have slowly dissipated, an inescapable stigma remains for the people of Fukushima.

A tray of perfect peaches
The Furuyama Fruit Farm in rural Fukushima grows peaches three times sweeter than the fruit sold at regular supermarkets.(ABC News: Yumi Asada)

Since then, fifth generation peach farmer Koji Furuyama has been striving to decontaminate the region’s reputation by growing the world’s sweetest peaches.

“Produce in Fukushima was recognised as the world’s most worthless and dangerous,” Koji said.

“I thought of doing the complete opposite by making the world’s most delicious or sweetest peaches.”

‘The sweetness will be from an unknown world’

There is a scientific measurement which confirms the intense sweetness of Koji’s peaches.

Two peaches on a tree
Koji’s fruit is up to three times sweeter than the average supermarket peach.(ABC News: Yumi Asada)

When you bite into a peach, you might notice if it’s sweet or tart or bland. Among farmers, this is known as Degrees Brix, and it measures the fruit’s sugar content.

The higher on the Brix scale, which goes up to 40, the sweeter the fruit.

Your average supermarket peach is usually somewhere between 11 and 15 Degrees Brix.

In comparison, the Guinness World Records certified a peach grown in Kanechika, Japan as the world’s sweetest, with a sugar content of 22.2

But on the Furuyama Fruit Farm in rural Fukushima, Koji has managed to grow a peach so sweet, it came in at a mouth-watering 32 Degrees Brix.

While Koji sold that delectably sweet peach for $7,000 a few years ago, he’s not done yet.

He’s already grown a peach at 35, and is now setting his sights on the most perfect peach ever, aiming to achieve that elusive 40 Degrees Brix.

Read more here:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-18/the-worlds-most-expensive-and-sweetest-peach-is-in-fukushima/12440818

Published by peter petterson

Father of four, grandfather of thirteen, and great-grandfather of eight. Resides in Taita, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand. Living happily in retirement and enjoying the company of my many young descendants.

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