On the island of Hokkaido in Japan, Hiroyuki Nakagawa plucks ripened mangoes ready to be packed and shipped. Nakagawa has been growing mangoes in the snowy Tokachi region of Japan’s northernmost island since 2011. He sells them for as much as $230 each. He never thought an experiment in sustainable farming would one day yield the world’s most expensive mangoes.
Under the guidance of another mango farmer from the southern prefecture of Miyazaki, who claimed it was feasible to grow the fruit in winter months, Nakagawa founded his farm and established his startup Noraworks Japan. A few years later he trademarked his mango brand as Hakugin no Taiyo, which translates to “Sun in the Snow.”
Nakagawa’s secret is using the two natural resources his homeland of Hokkaido is famous for—snow and onsen hot springs. He stores snow from the winter months and uses it in the summer to cool his greenhouses, tricking the fruits into delaying blooming. Then in the winter he uses natural hot springs to warm the greenhouse and harvest roughly 5,000 mangoes out of season.