Sumo Citrus - Dekopon has finally arrived

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sumo Citrus - Dekopon Tangerine
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.

Sumo Citrus - Dekopon Tangerine
You really have to 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 - Dekopon Tangerine
Called the Dekopon in Japan, the California growers are marketing them as 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!
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Eliana said... [Reply to comment]

Man you really know how to get me worked up over food. These sound amazing and like they need to be a part of my life NOW.

LibraryGirl62 said... [Reply to comment]

Here in FLA it is all about the Honeybell...but not my fav. I LOVE the Cara-Cara!!! I pay a small fortune for them and it is soooo worth it :)

Mary said... [Reply to comment]

Is David Karp dedicated or citrus-obsessed? Hmm...a little of both isn't bad if this is the end result! I can't wait to read your lemon week!

KK said... [Reply to comment]

i know i'm supposed to be commenting on the food, but gotta' say - i'm loving your photography (you've found your groove)!


Rachel said... [Reply to comment]

Hi there. :)
I'm still kind of new to blogger and I'm making my way around here looking for some new blogs to read/followers.
This place looks pretty darn amazing. You have so many wonderful ideas that I want to try. I'd be crazy not to follow. :P
I'm definitely looking forward to more posts
<3 Rachel

Gail said... [Reply to comment]

I read that article online late Wednesday night and got one yesterday. It is amazing!

Carol said... [Reply to comment]

I was curious about these sumo oranges after reading the article and had to try it. I bought a box for $14.99 at my local Freshia market. Absolutely, delicious!

Sue said... [Reply to comment]

Your writing really makes me want to go out and buy these! Glad I saw Carol's comment, I think I'll drop by the Freshia market soon. :)

Sue said... [Reply to comment]

Woops, just read the LA Times article now, and I've actually eaten these before but know them as "hallabong" the Korean name for this orange when I visited Jeju Island :)

Peggy said... [Reply to comment]

I was absolutely drooling after reading that article yesterday! My only complaint? I don't live anywhere near California :( Hopefully they'll get shipped to the other states soon enough.

Orchid64 said... [Reply to comment]

I adore dekopon (I live in Japan). They really are the best oranges, and the irony is that they are more expensive in Japan than what you're paying there! The last bunch I bought was the equivalent of a $1.80 each (and that was a "cheap" price).

Sara said... [Reply to comment]

Yum, these sound great! I saw these at my grocery store but wasn't sure if they would be worth trying...definitely going to give them a try! :) Thanks for the advice!

luvlyloops said... [Reply to comment]

aaahh! I WANT some now!! Must go soon, I assume any Japanese store would have these, right? :)

luvlyloops said... [Reply to comment]

Guess what? I bought a box of these and I luuuuuuv them!!

karlsie said... [Reply to comment]

I happened upon these at my local Whole Foods Market. They had samples, and I was a goner! I'm gonna need a bigger cart!

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