Oranges are something we enjoy in the winter.
We fill our kids lunch boxes with small seedless mandarins coming out of smiley bags or boxes in the winter.
It's not winter anymore.
But that doesn't mean we are done talking about citrus.
Over the last decade a lot of later season varieties of mandarins have been hitting the produce department, so that now we can enjoy our citrus all the way to the latter days of spring.
One of those late arrivals is the Gold Nugget mandarin. This mandarin has seen a recent boom in production.
Wait, wait, Gold Nugget. I thought this was a post about what a Suki mandarin is. Calm down. Don't fret, I will get to that. Let me tell you a little story first.
My Introduction to the Gold Nugget
Circa 2011. My sister in law was getting married. My family made our way to California. I had been out there several times before, but never in the winter time. I was super excited to be out there in the heart of citrus season. I could not wait to hit up my first farmer's market.
It was very foreign to me seeing oranges, mandarins, lemons, grapefruit, and more outdoors at a farmer's market. Boy as a fruit lover it was exciting. I was introduced to many different varieties that I would see show up in my local produce department a few years down the road.
One of those varieties was the Gold Nugget or Golden Nugget as it's sometimes called. I of course bought some, along with every other mandarin, blood orange, Tangelo, Cara Cara, Navel, and more I could get my hands on. Luckily my in-laws had some space for my to store my haul in their mini-fridge.
More Gold Nuggets, More Bad Gold Nuggets
The Gold Nugget mandarin is a late season one. This provides an opportunity to extend the season for mandarin growers. Every year I see more Gold Nugget mandarins in the store. They were rare at first, just appearing at Whole Foods and other specialty grocers. But now Kroger has got them. Meijer has some them. Walmart has got them. Everyone has Gold Nugget mandarins.
The thing is as more people have been growing them, I have found more and more bad ones in the store. Not bad in the sense that they are rotting but in the sense of flavor. These aren't the wonderful Gold Nugget mandarins I first ate during that magical trip to my first Cali farmer's market. I want those again.
So What is Suki Mandarin?
That brings us finally to the Suki mandarin. The Suki mandarin is a Gold Nugget mandarin that has been given a trademarked name by Suntreat. You see that wanted their mandarins to stand out. They develop their own specialized way of growing, harvesting, and packing Gold Nugget mandarins. Just as they have been successful with their pride and joy Sumo Citrus, they have grown and shipped a mandarin that reminds me of the 2011 experience.
Why Call Gold Nuggets, Suki?
Suki translates to meaning love. The name and packaging continues the Japanese theme they have going with the Sumo mandarin. In a market that has been flooding with Gold Nuggets they felt the need to distinguish theirs from the next guy's. And one taste will show you that this was a successful endeavor.
2018 is the first year Suntreat has had enough volume of them to promote them. I am excited to be able to enjoy these mandarins after my beloved Sumos are gone.
Where to Find/Buy Suki Mandarins?
So far I have found them at Whole Foods Market and Kroger stores. Look in any store you have found Sumo Citurs in the past (you can refer to my Sumo Citrus store guide as a reference). Some of the stores you will find on that list include Wegman's, the Fresh Market, Safeway, and more.
Suntreat begins harvesting Suki mandarins in early March. They reach stores around mid-March and the season lasts into May.
Have you tried a Suki? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.