Melondramatic: Zurich store charges more than 100 francs for one watermelon

A Zurich store has justified charging more than 100 francs for a watermelon, saying it has been grown organically and it arrived in Switzerland by rail.

Melondramatic: Zurich store charges more than 100 francs for one watermelon
A generic picture of a (presumably) much cheaper watermelon. Photo by Art Rachen on Unsplash

Switzerland is known for expensive prices, including for imported fruit and vegetables.

But this organic watermelon is being sold for more than 100 francs in Zurich, which must rank as the highest fee ever demanded for a watermelon – or any single piece of fruit. 

Cost of living: Which parts of Switzerland are actually cheap to live in?

The 14 kilogram organic watermelon costs CHF101.50 (£81, US$111, €94.50), or roughly seven francs per kilo. 

The melon is on sale at Zurich department store Globus, who say the cost is justified due to the rarity of the melon and its organic production. 

The news was initially reported by Inside Paradeplatz, a Zurich finance news site

Since then, it has been picked up by other news outlets. 

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“Such a large melon is only found very rarely”, Globus spokesperson Franziska Gämperle told Swiss tabloid Blick. 

“We get these from a small, exclusive supplier in Italy with a focus on quality and the environment.”

“Such large watermelons are seldom available and are more complex to produce,” Gämperle continued, saying that the cost was also higher as the melons are only transported by rail to ensure they arrive without damage or bruises. 

Is this the most overpriced thing you’ve ever seen in Switzerland? If not, let us know. 

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Can I have a fire in my backyard or courtyard in Switzerland?

The winter months are on their way and the weather is getting colder. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, can you light a fire?

White marshmallows toast over a fire
If you want to toast marshmallows in your backyard in Switzerland this winter, first make sure it's OK. Photo by Leon Contreras on Unsplash

Even if you own a property, the rules for what you can and cannot do in Switzerland can be relatively restrictive. 

As we covered in the following article, laws or tenancy rules can prevent you from doing several types of activities in your own backyard, including felling trees or washing your car. 

You can also be prevented from certain activities on particular days. For instance, rules, bylaws and tenancy arrangements may prevent you from mowing your lawn or hanging out your laundry on a Sunday. 

READ MORE: What am I allowed to do in my backyard or apartment courtyard in Switzerland?

As the weather gets colder, you might be tempted to stock up the fire pit, fire basket or fire bowl with wood and set it alight. 

The rules for lighting fires are also relatively complex. What you are allowed to do will depend on your canton, your tenancy arrangement and the type of fire. 

Can I light a fire on my own property in Switzerland? 

If you’re living in one of the few Swiss houses to have a fireplace, then you are presumably allowed to use it, unless tenancy regulations prevent it at certain times. 

You are also usually allowed to have a barbecue or grill either on your balcony or in your backyard, provided the noise and smoke is not excessive. 

READ MORE: Can I have a barbecue on my balcony in Switzerland?

Whether or not you are allowed to have a fire in your backyard however will depend on the rules in your canton. 

You are generally prohibited from burning any waste in Switzerland, other than typical forest or garden waste (i.e. wood, grass, twigs, sticks and leaves). 

That however can also be restricted at certain times of the year.

In Zurich, for instance, fires in backyards are only permitted from March to October, meaning that you will need to find other ways to stay warm in the winter months in Switzerland’s most populous canton. 

Even if lighting fires is permitted, you may want to check with the rules of your rental contract to see if you are technically allowed a fire. 

What about fires in the forest or open parks? 

A campfire might also sound like a nice way to spend a winter evening, but this may be restricted or completely prohibited depending on the circumstance. 

There is no federal ban on fires in forests and other outdoor areas, provided you are not burning waste (other than garden waste etc) and you are not producing excessive emissions. 

The rules are the same on August 1st, Swiss National Day, where special bonfires usually require a permit. 

Note that there are special rules for burning old Christmas trees, which is prevented by law.