Specialty Produce, a San Diego retailer, made a video to celebrate the return of Suntreat Packing & Shipping Co.’s Sumo citrus mandarin oranges.
The stop motion video features two of the specialty oranges dressed in mawashi (the loincloth worn in traditional sumo fighting) battling as other oranges watch. The loser ends up peeled and segmented, and, presumably, eaten.
The video was posted to Facebook by Suntreat’s Sumo Citrus page and earned positive reactions from fans of the fruit, with some asking when it would be available at their local retailers. Some users posted pictures of the Sumo citrus displays at their store.
Roger Griess, vice president of sales and marketing at Lindsay, Calif.-based Suntreat, appreciates the online following. “We’ve got quite a huge following online and across the country and as far south as Australia,” he said.
Last year’s crop was under a million 5-pound equivalent boxes, but this year they’ve nearly tripled production.
“Barring any major natural disaster, we should have about 3 million packages this year,” Griess said. But, even with the increase in production, the company is selective about adding new customers.
Suntreat added Sam’s Club and BJ’s to their retail list, but want to make sure their current customers are adequately stocked. “It’s been kind of a sold out kind of problem,” Griess said.
2011 was the first year Sumo citrus was available commercially. Suntreat plans to increase production to 15 million packages over the next 3 or 4 years.
“It’s a beautiful shape,” Griess said, when asked why the Sumo citrus inspires such a following. “I think that’s what brings people to take a look at it. And then the flavor is what keeps them buying it. It’s a phenomenal piece of fruit, very juicy and very sweet.”
Suntreat handles many kinds of citrus, including Sumo citrus and Gold Nuggets mandarins in their Reserve Citrus line.