Summer with Sumo

3 names, 1 fruit. 

Dekopon in Japanese, Sumo in English, and Hallabong in Korean, the world’s most exquisite orange supersedes its fruity counterparts, and here’s why. 

 
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T H E H I S T O R Y

Japan 1972, the year of experimental innovation. 

A government fruit research plan decided to fuse the Kiyomi tangor and the ponkan to create the ultimate orange. Both were popular types of mandarins in Asia, and to bring them together was to revolutionize the citrus family. A few experiments later, the Sumo orange was born.

The Sumo was definitely not love at first sight.

The massive size and bumpy skin made the orange a bit overwhelming at the initial glance.

However, don’t judge a book by its cover! It’s incredibly easy-to-peel skin and decadent flavor lured bite to fall in love. Seedless and overflowing with sweet juices, the sumo orange had to be shared!

Ever since the 13th century, Jeju Island of South Korea grew delicious tangerines for royal families. The island’s lush greens and optimal soil allowed for a constant, abundant harvest of the best fruits nearly throughout the world. The Sumo couldn’t be left out! Korea quickly began to harvest the Sumo on their own (calling it Hallabong because it was grown on the Halla Mountain). More than just eating the sweet fruit, Korea uses the Sumo to the fullest. The seeds and skin are preserved, dried, and delicately kept to use as forms of medicine. 

America, on the other hand, had a much harder time growing the fruit. The budding Sumo branches actually carried exotic pests that were dangerous to farmers and growers. Thus, it was only through a small, Californian orchard’s bold and discrete plan that the Sumo came to be. The orchard secretly grew the fruit in a safe environment for three years until releasing it out to the public for safe cultivation. Fast forward to now: anyone can find the Sumos when in season at the grocery store!

T H E N O W

Eva Chen is the queen of fashion partnerships at Instagram, and when she promotes, her followers listen. She posted endless stories of Sumo’s amazing, seedless, sweet nature. With her influencer’s push, everyone wanted to get their hands on the orange ever since the citrus season of 2018. 

A year later, the oranges are still a popular delicacy. Sumos are sold in most supermarkets and snatched away by the bulk. Although the oranges are extremely sought after, the most exciting part about the citrus king would have to be their foreseeable future! 

T H E F U T U R E

Everyone loves the easy peel skin and devouring the sweet fruit whole. But, the future holds so much more than that!

Grace Street Cafe released a new line of collaborative drinks with the sumo orange for their summer theme of “A Taste of Jeju! #DrinkSumo”

There’s the Sparkling Sumo made with sparkling water for those who want a citrus kick to a light drink. Matcha Sumo is for the caffeine fans as Grace Street mixes cold brew matcha with a layer of the juicy orange. And lastly, the Sumo Float! A creamy, bubbly drink that you just have to try to know how good it is! 

Anyone can enjoy the world’s greatest orange in many forms, and an endless list of possibilities in the future. Stay tuned, and take a trip to Jeju while you’re at it! 

 
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