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March 18, 2014

The Sumo Citrus Orange

by Anne Paddock

A Sumo Citrus Orange is quite possibly the sweetest orange you will ever taste. Seedless, full of flavor, and easy to peel, the Sumo Citrus Orange is everything the Clementine seemed to promise but couldn’t deliver.

It all started with a citrus grower in Japan who wanted to combine the best attributes of two types of oranges: the easy to peel Satsuma of Japan and the big, juicy, sweet oranges of California. For years, this hybrid orange was only grown in Japan and Korea but a group of farmers in Central Valley, California – the 450 mile long, 50 mile wide large flat valley – realized this huge agricultural garden is the ideal place to grow one of the world’s best citrus fruits.

Many people refer to the Sumo Citrus Orange as a Mandarin with orange parentage. Physically, the Sumo Citrus Orange resembles a navel orange in size with a prominent bump on the top referred to as a top knot. The skin is bright orange, thick, bumpy, and loose which makes the fruit very easy to peel.  The delicate sections separate easily without a juicy mess (it passes the car test meaning the peeling of a Sumo Citrus Orange does not make a mess in the car; in fact, a Sumo Citrus Orange can usually be peeled in one piece starting from the top knot) although each orange section is naturally sweet, moist, and delicious.13407-img-0-full

The Sumo Citrus Orange is only in season from February through May – a relatively short four month season. The fruit is hand pruned, picked, and packed to avoid damage and ensure quality. There is no bitterness and very little white membrane, allowing the fruit segments to melt in your mouth. With a low acidity level, the Sumo Citrus Orange is great for those who have trouble with high acid levels of other citrus fruits.iStock_000023429593Small

The Sumo Citrus Orange is available at most Whole Foods at $3.49 – $3.99 a pound which equates to about $2 per orange..expensive but worth it, Wegman’s, and select Kroger and Safeway stores. To learn more about the Sumo Citrus Orange, the farmers who grow this enormously delicious fruit, or to locate a store that carries this amazing fruit, go to

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