A pair of melons produced in the northern Japan city of Yubari, Hokkaido, on Saturday fetched a record 3.2 million yen ($29,000) in the first auction of this harvest season at a Sapporo wholesale market.

The price more than doubled the 1.5 million yen paid in the first auction of Yubari melons last year and outstripped the all-time high price of 3 million yen in 2016.

"I wanted to make a record-setting bid by all means" as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the company's establishment, said Shinya Noda, the winning bidder and president of local fruit and vegetable packaging company Hokuyu Pack.

A total of 507 melons shipped from eight farmers in Yubari, which is well known in Japan for producing melons, were auctioned Saturday, according to the city's agricultural cooperative.

The pair of melons will be displayed until the end of the month and pieces of them will be given to customers free of charge later.