2 years ago

Sumo mandarins: Possibly the sweetest fruit you’ll ever eat!

Colin Lyons, our produce buyer, shares the amazing story of the Sumo:

Here in the Lunds and Byerly’s produce department, we are always on the hunt, constantly searching for the next big thing. This ceaseless pursuit has turned up treasures like the season’s finest blackberry, the jumbo strawberry, the opal apple and even Amaize sweet corn.

We look for these items not only because we are produce nerds – passionate about great tasting, unique items – but also because we truly love offering the latest and greatest in our stores. I believe our customers, in turn, love to introduce these same items to their friends and family. Produce is hip, fun and meant to be shared.

There is one item for me that truly stands out in this best-of-the-best group. Returning by popular demand is the Sumo! Sumo is a piece of citrus whose creation story is as amazing as its flavor. 

More than 40 years ago, a citrus grower from the Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan had an idea for a new hybrid fruit. He wanted to combine the big size and juicy sweet flavor of the navel orange with the easy-to-peel rind of the Japanese Satsuma. After creating this hybrid, the grower struggled to get his new fruit to maturity. Through much perseverance, he developed a particular method for growing and pruning his trees, different from any other citrus tree.

After 30 years of development and perfection, this treasure rose to be the most prized citrus in both Japan and Korea. The Dekopon, as it is called in Japan, was sold in specialty shops and became part of the Japanese tradition of offering only the best fruit as a gift.

Grown in California’s central valley with the exact same rigorous standards of the original Kumamoto farmer, its sweetness is unparalleled to any other citrus I have tried. The peel is bright orange, bumpy and loose, leaving no need to wrestle with such an easy peel. Unlike a clementine, the Sumo offers way more than two or three bites.

Sumo citrus is available for a limited time around February each year. Look for it in our produce department.