Satsumas Ripening Across the Coast

Satsumas Ripening Across the Coast

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Have you had a juicy satsuma lately? It’s that time of the year. The delicious citrus fruit is ripe and ready, and easy to find here on the Gulf Coast. News 5 stopped by a local orchard and met a man who's had a lot of experience with satsumas. 

There's a picture postcard orchard just off of Highway 64 in Baldwin County. As the November sun was shining, we learned this is where Wilson Williams has been making his living for nearly 40 years. We caught up with Wilson while he was working on a big order for some fresh fruit. His crop of satsumas came in a little ahead of time this year.

Wilson told us, “This year they got ripe early so we started selling.”

As the name satsuma suggests, this fruit is probably Japanese in origin. Satsuma was the name of a province at the southern tip of Japan that now makes up part of the island of Kyushu. But they have a long history in Alabama. Groves just like this one started way back in the 1700's.

Cold air marks the end of the growing season for many crops, wilson told us his satsumas may last well into January or February before they're gone. Satsumas are the hardiest commercial citrus fruit when it comes to withstanding cold weather. Satsuma trees can withstand temperatures down to 15 degrees. But they're delicate in other ways - and do not withstand rough handling very well.

“If you don't get cold weather they won't sweeten up. You’ve got to have cold weather.”

It seems people aren't the only ones interested in Wilson’s crop.

“We used to plant peas and all out here, but deer starting eating them up so we quit planting them. So we put satsuma trees out here. Now they're eating the satsumas.”

We finished up our report as Wilson finished up this shipment of fruit is on its way to Birmingham. It seems for some, life is still pretty sweet on the farm.

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