Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Sumo Citrus®?
- A Sumo Citrus is a delightfully sweet, juicy, seedless and uniquely easy-to-peel mandarin.
Where did Sumo Citrus come from?
- It was developed by a farmer in Japan where it is known as a dekopon — a cross between a Kiyomi (a cross between a tangor, satsuma and Trovita orange) and a Ponkan (a mandarin and a pomelo).
- Sumo Citrus is non-GMO, developed using traditional plant-breeding techniques.
- Sumo Citrus is so revered in Japan, it’s often given as a gift.
What makes it different from other mandarins or oranges?
- The sweetness is unparalleled.
- It’s seedless and the peel virtually falls off on its own.
- It’s incredibly juicy without being messy.
- Its short growing season means this is one of the few remaining truly seasonal treats, usually available only from January through April.
- Despite their rugged appearance, this delicate fruit bruises easily, which is why the trees must be hand-pruned and why the fruit is hand-picked and packed for optimum quality and flavor.
Where is Sumo Citrus grown?
- Sumo Citrus is grown in the San Joaquin Valley of California only by Suntreat farmers, and by our partner farmers in Australia.
Why is it called Sumo Citrus?
- It’s big, like a Sumo wrestler.
- It has a top knot, like many Sumo wrestlers.
- It has Japanese heritage, like Sumo wrestling.
Why is it more expensive than average oranges?
- It takes four years of constant TLC before a Sumo Citrus tree produces any fruit.
- Despite their rugged appearance, this delicate fruit requires far more expertise and gentle handling than run-of-the-mill citrus.
- Sumo Citrus is so delicate, growers have to apply natural kaolin clay as a sunscreen on the fruit throughout the summer.
- Sumo Citrus is the most difficult citrus to grow — it’s handled more like a fine grape or a delicate peach than a typical mandarin. Each tree is carefully groomed by hand every year. Each piece of fruit is hand-picked and packed in small totes. And finally, each tote is cautiously transported to our facility, the only facility in North America gentle enough to pack a Sumo Citrus.
Why doesn’t every Sumo Citrus look exactly the same?
This unique and delicate fruit may demonstrate the following slight variations, which do not affect the quality or flavor in any way:
- Slight blemishes like discoloration, scarring or spotting.
- Shape variations from a large to small “top knot.” In some cases when the fruit is small, the top knot is barely noticeable.
- Peel varies from coarse to smooth.
- Loose-fitting rind or soft texture. Hint: the looser the rind, the easier they are to peel.
Seedless? I found some seeds.
- It is possible that you may find a seed or two in your usually seedless Sumo Citrus. While our farmers work very hard to avoid seeds, they can form naturally in some pieces of fruit when a bee cross-pollinates a regular mandarin blossom with a Sumo Citrus tree blossom. And it’s tough to get mad at the bees.
Sumo Citrus are extraordinarily sweet. How do you do that?
- We pick Sumo Citrus only when the fruit is perfectly ripe. Pick too early and it is too tart. Pick too late and it doesn’t have the same zingy flavor we all can’t get enough of.
- Once we have them at the facility, we screen every piece of fruit for flavor. Our one-of-a-kind packing facility measures the sugar and acid levels of every piece of fruit — if the flavor isn’t there, that piece doesn’t make it into a box.
What is the best way to store Sumo Citrus?
- Sumo Citrus love to be stored at 42–45 degrees Fahrenheit with good air circulation and 90%–95% relative humidity. Or, instead of storing them, you could just eat them!