The Sumo Citrus. It's long trek to California took years. And it was worth it.
My Thursday morning routine: Get home from a night of clubbing...sorry, I'm just laughing at that one. Okay, my exciting routine is to grab the Los Angeles Times from the driveway and reach for the Food Section. And guess what? As I discovered when buying this lovely piece of citrus, I'm certainly not the only one. Let me take a step back and first tell you a story that includes smuggling, cults, secrets and not drugs...but citrus.
The front page of the LA Times Food Section (Feb 17, 2011) had a beautiful photo of an enormous tangelo-looking citrus and a fantastic story. The Dekopon, developed in the 1970's in Japan, has finally made it to California.
In the first paragraph, author David Karp says, "I've tasted more than 1,000 varieties of citrus, and to me the Dekopon is the most delicious."
You had me at citrus.
read the article. David has been searching and lusting after this citrus for 12 years. The development includes smuggling, budwoods cleansed of disease by something called the Citrus Clonal Protection Program, more smuggling and a "farming cult". Seriously, does it get any better that that?!
So, I had to get this citrus. I love, love California citrus. My dad's Meyer Lemon. The lovely, lovely Cara Cara orange. Blood orange drinks. Satsuma tangerines. Grapefruit for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I can eat citrus all day.
The Los Angeles Times lists sellers, including several Japanese markets. After taking my dad to the DMV on Friday to get an ID (in case he gets carded ;), we stopped at a Nijiya Market. As you walk through the doors, there is a big old display of the Sumo/Dekopon! They have the LA Times article posted too! $1.69 EACH or $15.99 a box! Savor these babies. They had samples and we met a woman who read the article and came over to find them too! As my dad and I were leaving with our three Sumos, we saw a man walk out carrying two boxes of them. (Who said the newspaper's dead?!)
Sumo Citrus (with the tagline: enormously good to eat!) The article says they rejected the name Tanzilla. I love that name!
And the taste? DELICIOUS. Very sweet. Firm and yet delicate. The membrane is really thin and doesn't get in the way. They are seedless and easy to peel too. I haven't had 1,000 varieties of citrus like David Karp, but darn, these are delicious. And I'm sure they will get better after their rookie season. Can't wait til next year's crop.
Read the article and find sellers here:
LA Times Food Section article (Feb 17, 2011)
Sumo Citrus (Grower's website)
Hear David Karp on my favorite show KCRW's Good Food where he talks about the Dekopon/Sumo.
P.S. Speaking of my love of citrus, next week justjenn and I are having Lemon Week on our blogs! :) Stop on by!