Fruit farming in Japan is still a labor-intensive process, which leads to high prices. However, there are now a number of native Japanese fruit varieties being grown overseas and the latest fruit to make a splash in North America is the Sumo Citrus orange. In Japan, it’s called a dekopon or shiranui. The fruit has a bumpy exterior and features a little knob on the top, reminiscent of a traditional sumo wrestler hairstyle.
The orange was first developed in Japan back in the 70s and is actually a hybrid between the kiyomi and ponkan citrus. It’s sweet and only grows between December and February, during Japan's winter. Imagine a giant, extra sweet mandarin-orange hybrid that peels easily. It’s very fragrant and the citrus generally comes seedless.
Recently, the fruit has been trending abroad, particularly in North America, where the Sumo Citrus brand has been deploying Instagram influencers, celebrity fans and smart marketing campaigns to attract attention. Once a rare sight, the dekopon is now a common fruit on supermarket shelves in the United States and even Australia.
Photo source: Dreamstime.com