Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Sumo Citrus = Love.

Posted by: Alison O'Connor, Larimer County Extension

Oh, Sumo Citrus how I love thee.
Sumo Citrus. Awesome. Tasty. Incredible. And 1000 other adjectives that describe yummy.
Wait--you haven't heard of Sumo Citrus? Really?? Let me tell you--you're missing out. And you may actually miss out, since they have such a short season. I told a few of my co-workers about this incredible fruit and they went nuts! There was a flurry of text messages and dashes to the grocery store to buy them.

The Sumo Citrus, in short, is amazing. By far the best Mandarin orange I've had. Actually, the best orange I've had. Period. Seedless, sweet, easy-to-peel and a great winter treat.

I love when certain produce comes into season--think Bing cherries, Colorado peaches, Honeycrisp apples and the sweetest sweet corn. Sumo Citrus is no exception--when they arrive in the grocery store, I buy in bulk. It's not an inexpensive purchase (they are usually about $3/pound), but worth every penny. And then I hoard them. Protective of every juicy segment.
Both, sadly, have been eaten.
The Sumo Citrus was developed in Japan and is grown in the United States in California, on family farms in the San Joaquin Valley. The fruit is pretty distinct because they are large, bumpy and usually have a large knob on the top of the fruit (called the Sumo "top knot").

The rind seems to be naturally separated from the fruit, so it's very easy to peel and almost just falls off once you get it started.
Sumo is so easy to peel!
And the taste! Exceptional. Sweet, but not too sweet, great orange flavor and when you're finished, you want to eat another (but you don't because they are too special).
Yum yum yum.
Growers claim the Sumo Citrus is around from February to May, but I think I only saw them into March last year. Maybe there are more growers and we'll have a longer season. But I am already sad for the day they'll disappear from the produce section and will patiently wait for 2019. Until then, I have my stash and will enjoy every bite!
Maybe the short growing season is what makes them so special?


  1. Allison - They are so yummy! I got some in a Bountiful Basket. Juicy, tasty and easy to peel. There is no other orange that compares.

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  3. Daughter, you've always surprised me throughout your life. Why have you kept this from me? I'm heading to the grocery store right now for Sumo Citrus. Sounds so tasty! Mom Stoven

  4. LOL...apparently you need to ask me about my favorite fruits when we talk! :) Hope you can find them in Oregon!

  5. Hi Alison, I used your delightful Sumo article for a post on our Master Gardener Instagram account.

    I received the following comment: "Sadly, the sample in your photo is not organic. The cryptic little number on the sticker shows this. If it were organic, there would be 5 numbers instead of 4, and the first number would be an oversized 9."

    There's that term organic again. In seeds, the term Organic largely refers to seeds harvested from plants that were certified organic. Generally speaking, these seeds were produced on plants that received no synthetically produced fertilizers or pesticide sprays. However, it does not mean that the plants were not treated with pesticides. Could you explain to me exactly what this means in terms of this orange?

    Thanks Alison.
    ... Vicky

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