FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — They are a special kind of citrus available a limited time each year. Premium in size, peel, and flavor this is the time of year for Sumo Citrus.
Though not widely available, most of this special kind of citrus in the U.S. comes from Valley.
“You eat it and oh man that’s good,” Sumo Citrus grower, Brian Newfeld said.
Farmer Brian Newfeld says he was hooked the first time he tried the fruit ten years ago. Now, he farms Sumo Citrus in Lindsay.
“The peel comes off in one piece. No mess. Segments are fully encased in a membrane. These little sacs have got the internal juice in it,” Newfeld said.
Sumo Citrus is the brand name of a Dekopon, a specialized kind of large mandarin from Japan.
“If you can imagine a softball size fruit hanging off this branch,” Newfeld said.
Growing a Sumo can cost twice what it costs to grow an everyday orange. That’s because these trees require some special attention, according to Newfeld.
Newfeld says they’re kept more trim, a little smaller than other trees you see around the Valley here. And there are ropes on the inside of each of them. It supports the branches to be able to hold up the heavier fruit.
“We’ve learned just a ton of strategies,” Newfeld said. There are challenges like too much sun or even sitting water on the fruit.
Newfeld says, in the end, the payoff is huge.