Mandarin oranges have been divided into four groups: the Satsuma group (Citrus unshiu), the King group (C. noblis), the Mediterranean group (C. deliciosa), and the common group (C. reticulata). Here at Simon Citrus Farm L.L.C., we grow the Satsuma Mandarin (Citrus unshiu). The Satsuma mandarin may have originated in China but is was first reported in Japan more than 700 years ago. The first recorded introduction into the United States was in Florida by George R. Hall in 1876. The name "Satsuma" is credited to the wife of a U.S. Minister to Japan, General Van Valkenburg, who sent trees home in 1878 from Satsuma, the name of a former province, now Kagoshima Prefecture, on the southern tip of Kyushu Island. During the period 1908-1911, approximately a million "Owari" Satsuma trees were imported from Japan and planted throughout the lower Gulf Coast states from Florida to Texas. The world's largest Satsuma industry is located in southern Japan. While this fruit is grown primarily for fresh consumption, a portion of the crop is canned as fruit segments or juice.
The Louisiana citrus industry began when early settlers planted citrus seeds along the Mississippi River below New Orleans. At first, only the so-called "sweet" seedlings were planted. They required from five to seven years to produce a paying crop. In most cases, these early groves were unmanaged. In about 1878, budded trees were introduced into south Louisiana. Budded trees, unlike seedlings, yielded crops in three to four years.
The Satsuma, introduced in the early 1880s, possessed more cold hardiness than other "sweet" citrus and prompted the planting of citrus in the more northern latitudes of Louisiana. By the 1890s, Satsuma trees were planted extensively along all the southern Louisiana parishes.
Simon Citrus Farm L.L.C. was planted in 1996 as a hobby but quickly grew into a 1000 tree orchard with the guidance of the LSU Agriculture Center. While "Owari" is the most popular variety of Satsuma grown, we grow the "Brown Select" variety which ripens a little earlier and is much sweeter than other varieties. We also grow a few Navel Oranges as well as our delicious Satsumas. With the help of family and friends, we harvest for retail, wholesale, and shipping customers.
Simon Citrus Farm L.L.C. is family owned and operated. Come by and see us!