Popular Rare Orange Variety Spotted on Shelves in Hudson Valley
A very special citrus fruit has just arrived in the Hudson Valley, but don't expect it to be around for very long.
While grocery shopping this week I struck gold. As I worked my way through the produce section I saw a tiny display of oranges that made me do a double-take. "Could it be?" I thought, "No, it can't." As I crept closer I almost let out a squeal as I realized that I had, indeed, stumbled across the famous Sumo Citrus.
This unassuming fruit looks just like a regular orange, but it's oh so much more. The Sumo Citrus is renowned for its super-sweet taste, ultra juiciness and easiness to peel. This large citrus fruit gets its name for not only its size but the fact that it originated in Japan. You can usually tell a Sumo Citrus from other oranges by its pronounced top "knot," but be careful. Other oranges may have a knot as well. Unless the sticker says "Sumo" it may not be the real thing.
Sumo oranges were originally cultivated in Japan in the 1970s. Because of its appearance, the fruit was named the “dekopon," which means "knot" in Japanese. Seedlings were brought to the United States in the late 1990s, but because the fruit is so challenging to grow, it wasn't available to the public until 2011.
Growers say that trees take four years of care before bearing any fruit, making them extremely difficult to cultivate in large numbers. Of course, all of this work comes at a price. If you're lucky enough to find them, Sumo Oranges can be a bit pricy.
After stumbling across this rare fruit in the store I was finally able to try one for myself, and I have to say it's the best orange I've ever had. Sweeter than a clementine, perfectly juicy and not a seed in sight, I can see why the Sumo Orange is such a big deal. As an added bonus, the fruit is also packed with vitamins. One average-sized Sumo contains 163% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, which is great because cold and flu season is when these fruits are available annually.
According to the company's website, the Sumo Orange is available locally at ShopRite and Hannaford supermarkets, but the only place I saw them was in a small, unmarked section at the end of the aisle at Price Chopper. Sumo Citrus season starts in January and ends in April. After that, the fruit is no longer available until next year.
Have you ever tried a Sumo Orange? If so, we'd love to know what you think. You can share your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.