Večernji list reports on how in the recent days variety of very expensive fruit has been spotted on some farmers’ markets in Zagreb (mostly Dolac, as Dolac has always been the place where you can find special, exclusive and non-ordinary items). The produce that stands out is the cherries, which are being sold there for whopping 250 kuna per kilo (just to give some perspective: normal, in-season price of cherries in Croatia is around 30 kuna in the past few years).
The price will give ordinary buyers pause (as will the fact that they are offered in January, and their season in Croatia is May and June), but the person selling them, Drago Panić, says that he wouldn’t keep them on sale if he wasn’t able to make the sales. He admits that he’s able to sell one batch of 2.5 kilos in a few days, and that they are shipped from Chile in such packages.
They arrive in Zagreb from Chile in two days, as they are being flown in special boxes, first to Barcelona and Dolac the next morning (you really shouldn’t be fooled by the name “farmers’ market” – although you can actually find some farmers there selling the produce they’ve grown themselves, there’s also a lot of fruit and vegetables being sold which were purchased from various major importers). And of course, although they are out of season in Croatia, cherries are in full season in Chile now, with it being on the other hemisphere, so their high price is mostly reflective of the expensive transport to Croatia – and unfortunatelly, for cherries there is no other option, as there’s no way they would survive the usual shipping on a boat.
Mr. Panić adds that some customers buy the whole package, some take a kilo, and some, probably just curious if Chilean cherries taste like Croatian cherries buy just a couple of dekagrams. Other vendors on the markets say that most of the customers for such expensive and out-of-season goods are the foreigners, who can afford to buy fruit which reminds them of their home, even at such high prices. Mr. Panić has other non-local fruits as well, for instance papaya for 110 kuna, mango for a hundred and pineapple for 50 kuna (you can purchase a pineapple in most Croatian supermarkets these days for well under 20 kuna).
(A dash of crazy science for the end: researchers say (careful, this link will open a .pdf of a scientific article!) that an average cherry weighs around 12 grams, which means that there are around 83 cherries in a kilo. Divide 250 kuna with 83 cherries, and you’ll come up with the number of around 3 kuna per cherry. Not too bad, if you think about it like that!