Satsumas have arrived in Louisiana and every major intersection has a pickup truck loaded with $3 bags of the sweet, small mandarin oranges that are plentiful this time of year. I first mistook them for tangerines, but they have a decidedly orange flavor that is less sweet and more citrusy.
Originally from ancient China and later transported to Japan, its name means, "honey citrus of Wenzhou." Wherever the satsuma originated, it surely thrives in temperate climate of Louisiana where it is also greatly appreciated.
The fruit bruises easily, the reason perhaps why satsumas are rarely found in supermarkets where they might have to have been shipped long distance. Instead, satsumas are sold through a lively, entrepreneurial network of home growers along local thoroughfares.
As the grower at my favorite DeWitt Produce roadside stand on River Road said, "We've got to enjoy 'em while we can."