Every year, when autumn comes, South Koreans pay particular attention to the price trends of two specific fruits: apples and pears. These two fruits are the quintessential autumn fruits in Korea, but there are a few other reasons why people are particularly sensitive to their prices.
A time-honored tradition during the festival of Chuseok is to prepare a table full of food offerings to honor one’s ancestors. Apples and pears are a staple on this ceremonial table. Furthermore, they are also the two most common fruits gifted during the Chuseok holidays.
However, Chuseok’s varying dates each year, falling somewhere between late September and early October and determined by the lunar calendar, pose challenges. This year, the price of apples are some 50 percent higher than the same period last year, dampening the mood a bit.
Sources forecast the wholesale price of apples per 10 kilograms in September to jump a maximum 160.6 percent on-year to an average 74,000 won ($55.72). Overall apple production this year declined 21 percent on-year to below 449,000 tons.
Pears also suffered the brunt of the country’s lower-than-expected temperatures during its blooming season in April. Pear production declined 20 percent on-year and is forecast to fall under 200,000 tons. Its distribution volume for the Chuseok season is projected to fall 8 percent on-year to some 44,000 tons.