Heirloom oranges

If like me, you live in the Northeast and eagerly await the annual late-winter return to Trader Joe’s of the Sky Valley Heirloom Navels, a bit of good news. Though they won’t return there until next year, Wegmans currently has what they are calling heirloom California navels, by the bag. They are small, but sweet and low-acid, IMO identical to the SVHNs.


Interesting! So many people have old navel orange trees around here ( Northern California) , and in the late winter everyone seems to be giving us some. I don’t know if the ones I get are anything special, but I will have a new appreciation for them.

I’ll have to try these.

My favorite oranges are Sumos (which are insanely expensive most of the time, but TJs had smaller fruit last year at a less egregious price).

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I live in Japan where “sumo oranges” are sold as either “dekopon” or “shiranui” (though they are the same, the cost is higher for “dekopon” as that’s the brand name.) They’re fine to me, but I honestly don’t see the difference (not botanically, but taste-wise) between them and tangelos/minneolas. They look the same and to me, the taste is nearly identical while tangelos/minneolas are likely much less expensive in the US.

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I always thought of the sumo citrus as mandarins on steroids.

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We love Sumos too, and last year I planted a “shiranui” tree! It’s got flowers now, so fingers crossed.


To me they taste (and look, peel, etc) exactly like the Indian oranges I grew up with, but they are very different than most US oranges I have encountered. The flavor seems different to my palate than tangelos/minneolas.

I wanted to gift my SoCal family a sumo tree / baby plant when they were redoing the yard, but neither I nor they could find one! I even looked into grafting, finding root stock, and so on. Seems like a long time ago now, though it was only the “end” of the pandemic…

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HoneyBells are an old variety - original to the Indian River/Fl area - since grown more widely… available in a very short season Dec-to-Jan time frame. stunningly good stuff.

but . . .having bought from the ‘more widely’ areas - those simply do not measure up to the original Indian River varieties.

I get them mail order (half-bushel) from an I-95 exit fruit stand - I no longer have any interest in Tx/et.al. HoneyBells - they just are not the same quality.


I can get good ones over here on the left coast of FL. A grove near me replanted entirely to Minneolas(the other name for honeybells) after they had to cull because of greening.

blood oranges are the best.

I LOVE Cara Cara oranges, also Satsuma mandarins. I’ve seen Sumo, but not sure I’ve tasted them.

IME, the Tarocco variety of blood orange, which I enjoyed in Italy MANY years before blood oranges appeared in supermarkets in the American Northeast, are far superior to the Moro variety. With the exception of one time, maybe 20 years ago, when Trader Joe’s had Taroccos, I haven’t had a great blood orange. I find Moros tend to be quite acidic by comparison, and Taroccos have a more pronounced hint of berries. Every few years, I’ll buy a bag of Moros in hopes they have improved. Nope.

Love cara cara, and my fave oranges were the valencia ones pockmarked and advertised for juicing at the Los Angeles farmers markets. They were juicy, and a lovely sweet-tart combo. I hate oranges that are just sweet. Balance!

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