US Sumo display

Citrus has literally come to the forefront of stores in the US this February with a featured brand variety.

I am in love with Sumo Citrus. I have spent $14.99 (£11.42) on a carton of nine pieces twice this week. I am going to stop, honestly. In the UK I grew up with Navel oranges, but I didn’t frequently purchase them as they are more fiddly to peel with short nails, and quite messy as they were usually very juicy.

The Sumo, or ‘Dekopon’, was developed in Japan, and by crossing mandarins with Navel oranges, it gives the best qualities of both and is also seedless. It isn’t the prettiest-looking fruit, with a more pitted skin appearance and knobbly ‘top knot’, but that top knot makes it delightfully easy to peel. They are less juicy (and thus less messy) than a Navel orange. They are very sweet and moreish. They also allegedly have a lower level of acidity and are therefore easier on those with a more delicate disposition.

In addition to being readily available in retailers during their short season, you can also purchase adorable presentation boxes of Sumo oranges online to send as gifts. This echoes their origins, where they were given as gifts in Japan. In-store tasting stations and massive displays help to promote this fabulous fruit to the consumer.

The citrus market here is similar to the UK, with loose and netted lemons and limes, the usual selection of different smaller easy peeler items and Californian Navel oranges.

In addition to the core offering, all ends of the market offer Meyer lemons, a gorgeous cross between a citron and mandarin/pomelo hybrid that have a sweeter, more floral, less ‘tart’ taste and a thinner, brighter yellow skin on a smaller fruit.

Finger Limes are widely available, though not always at the more price-sensitive end of the market, likewise the rather aesthetically unattractive Jamaican oranges.

Minneola tangerines, Cara Cara Navel oranges and red clementines are on sale, but not blood oranges. Red grapefruit is advertised as ‘sweeter’ through branding, and white grapefruit is sold as core or own brand. Pomelos (which I love) are usually only available in ruby varieties.

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade – and merchandise it in an adjacent fixture.