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  • Writer's pictureTracey Broussard

The Last Sumo

This morning as I pedaled away on my exercise bike, I paged through old notebooks in an ongoing effort to declutter the house. One particular paragraph gave me pause. "Last night the news reported that twenty-four people were arrested in a terrorist plot to detonate liquids aboard airlines. As scary as this sounds, I am so excited to go to work tomorrow. I have a trip to San Franscisco, and pluots are in season."

That the thought of getting my hands on a Flavor King pluot was worth the risk of being blown up, says it all about my fruit obsession. I am a fruit freak. Few foods in the world make me as happy as sweet, ripe fruit.

Later today, while completing a grocery order from Instacart, the following appeared regarding my request for hydrogen peroxide. "This item may be running low. Would you like to replace it with Cotton Candy grapes?" Uh, no. I would not like to replace hydrogen peroxide with Cotton Candy grapes.

Cotton Candy grapes, if you've never tried them, are exactly what cotton candy would taste like if it was a grape. They are magically fantastic. Watch someone's face when they bite into one for the first time. Priceless.

As are Flavor King pluots, which, in my opinion are the only fruit worthy of the fall from the garden of Eden. This purplish plum/apricot hybrid has a complexity and depth of flavor that is both tart, sweet and swoon-worthy. Is it worth working two six-hour flights to get my hands on a fruit, you ask? You betcha.

Which brings me back to this morning's grocery order. Hydrogen peroxide aside, my list contained a request for five Sumo oranges. One of the largest mandarins, Sumos are a cross between a California navel orange and a mandarin. I have read that they took 30 years to develop in Japan, where they are highly prized.

One Sumo can weigh between half a pound and a pound. The skin is thick, and sometimes a little bumpy. The smell is gorgeous, too. Fruity with almost floral notes. I never eat one without closing my eyes and enjoying the scent beforehand. They peel easily, are seedless, and most importantly, taste phenominal. Juicy and sweet, with just a hint of tartness, they are irresistable. My two-year old granddaughter, Rory, is a fruit fanatic too. Spying Sumos in my house she points, "I want my orange."

All fruits in my home belong to her. As does my phone, television remote and baking supplies.

My phone buzzes. It is the Instacart shopper. He wants to know if a Sumo is a lemon.

I send him a picture of the last Sumo from my refrigerator. April is almost over, and we are at the end of the Sumo season. Psyched to see that they were still available at my store, I had hoped to get some.

The shopper sends me a picture of a juice orange. No. A navel orange. Nope. I tell him to check the small displays, perhaps a basket on the counter. Nada.

I guess I will have to wait until next year to have one again. For now, I'm sending my last Sumo to Rory. It will go in a food-filled care package for the family. I may not be able to hug her at the moment, but at least I can send her a sweet treat from my fridge.

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