It’s Sumo-st wonderful time of the year!

It’s Sumo-st wonderful time of the year!

Yes, I have checked the calendar – It’s March, not December…but, it is still “Sumo-st wonderful time of the year”! ((and even though I once had a traumatic experience with a Speech Pathologist, I am not experiencing a reoccurrence of my former impediment. She cured me with a little known speech pathology technique called “she scared me to death and I didn’t want to go back to her so I started saying my R’s and S’s properly”)).


Did you not know? Have you not heard? Sumos are in season. No, I am not talking about a Japanese wrestler man — speaking of which, I am not sure what is scarier, the lack of clothing or the look on the wrestler’s face as he begins the battle. Wait, what I am saying?? It’s the “clothing” It’s the clothing–no question. S-C-A-R-Y.


Now that we have cleared that up, the “Sumos” I am talking about are a delicious, juicy, perfectly amazing type of tangerine. They are only available for a few weeks out of the year, which is typically in February. But this year, the season got delayed for almost a month due to an early frost. I know this because I made David ask the grocer at Whole Foods 13 times…”Where are the Sumos? When will they get here? The Sumos are coming, right??!?” So, the grocer put us in the Sumo loop and we were able to track the crop’s development and arrival. 


Aren’t they beautiful?

Don’t you wish…you could taste one? 


Here is “the sumo story” according to Sumo citrus

In the 1970’s a citrus grower from the Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan set out to develop a fruit which would combine the best of the easy-to-peel Japanese Satsuma with the big, juicy, sweet oranges from California. Although he saw promise in an obscure tangerine-orange hybrid, this new fruit was challenging to grow. Thankfully, our grower persevered. Over time, he developed a series of methods for growing, pruning and thinning his trees, which is different from all other citrus.

It took over 30 years but his hard work was rewarded when recently, this new variety became the most prized citrus fruit in Japan and Korea.  Following the Japanese tradition of offering the best fruit as a gift, one can find it in Tokyo gift shops, selling for up to $8 for a single piece of fruit!  Now this legendary fruit, which is called Dekopon in Japan and Hallabong in Korea, is finally available for the enjoyment of consumers here in America.

Grown on our families’ farms in California’s Central Valley to the same exacting standards of the original Kumamoto farmer. It is the biggest mandarin you’ve ever seen. It has a distinctive shape with a prominent “top-knot.” The peel is bright orange, bumpy and loose so it peels effortlessly. The delicate sections separate easily. It’s seedless, juicy without being messy, and it is quite probably the sweetest citrus you’ll ever eat.


I think the Sumo history is fascinating – I hope you do too.  If you haven’t tasted a Sumo, head to your nearest grocer that stocks them. If you live near me — that is Whole Foods. But you must hurry, they will be gone soon (too soon) and trust me 12 months is a long time to wait for this deliciousness to hit your tongue. It is hard to know what heaven will be like, but on the list of what exactly makes heaven – “heaven”- I imagine Sumos will be available for eternity….ahhh!


***Oh!!! I almost forgot some very important instructions!!!*** Wash and save the peel. The sumo zest is the best zest I have ever tasted! If you don’t need zest anytime soon, just wash the peels, pat dry and place them in a freezer baggie in the freezer. TRUST me, you will be glad you did. I have an upcoming recipe that utilizes the zest perfectly so you won’t have to wait too long to give this zest a try.