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article imageJapanese company plays Mozart to its bananas

By Kim I. Hartman     Nov 27, 2010 in Food
Tokyo - A Japanese fruit company has been playing Mozart to its ripening bananas, claiming it produces a sweeter product. In fact, a wide variety of food and beverages have been enjoying classical music, including soy sauce, udon noodles, miso and even sake.
The Japan Times reported they arrive as ordinary unripe, and presumably unmusical, fruit from the Philippines at the Toyoka Chuo Seika fruit company. But then their whole existence changes.
Mozart’s "String Quartet 17" and "Piano Concerto 5 in D major," among other works, play continuously for one week over speakers in their ripening chamber, the paper said.
A representative from the fruit company, Isamu Okuda, said the company believes it makes the fruit sweeter.
And apparently consumers agree -- the “Mozart bananas,” which made their debut last July, are sold locally for the equivalent of $3.60 a bunch and sales are up over last year’s non-music listening bananas, reported Australia's Herald Sun.
The sake in Japan is reported to be quite particular when it comes to composers. At Ohara Shuzo brewery, senior managing director, Fumiko Ohara told the Japan Time the classical musical experiment began over 20 years ago when the president, Kosuke Ohara, came across a book about brewing with music. They experimented with jazz, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, among others.
"We found Mozart works best for sake," Ohara said, "and that's why we use only his music."
Although the claim that listening to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's complicated scores can boost your IQ has been debunked, its effect on bananas has yet to be disputed, said writer Daniel Krieger.
A number of food scientists declined to be interviewed for this story because there is not enough research to confidently weigh in on the practice. But that hasn't fazed Hiroko Harada, the manager of Harada Tomato, based in Tokushima Prefecture. Her shiny Mozart-infused tomatoes, called Star Drops, provide all the proof she needs.
Harada first thought of the idea 15 years ago, after she heard about cows whose milk production went up after listening to Mozart. In that report, a farmer in Spain claims his Mozart-listening bovines produce 1 to 6 liters more milk per day than other cows, and a farm in Aichi called Dairy Paradise uses the same method to boost production.
At the Harada farm, speakers placed throughout the nine greenhouses quietly stream Mozart for about 10 hours a day, from October through May.
"The most important thing," said Harada, "is that the music creates a relaxed and comfortable environment for us to work in, and that rubs off on the tomatoes."
More about Banana, Mozart, Classical music, Japan, Ripening fruit
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