Friday, February 12, 2010

Roxbury Russet revealed

A month after reviewing an apple sold as a Golden Russet, I began to suspect I'd had the wrong fruit (as explained here). That was in 2008.

I've since reviewed the real Golden Russet--obviously different--but remained unsure what the original apple was.

It's now clear that the first apple was a Roxbury Russet. Indeed my own description--larger than most russets, somewhat oblate, with piebald russetting--is characteristic of the breed.

I saw this confusion again this fall from another seller. (Meanwhile the first grower sold both Golden and Roxbury this past year, and got it right.)

Maybe the natural variation in the appearance of these two varieties is great enough that either can sometimes resemble the other. The Roxbury Russet I reviewed in the fall of 2009 (center), with russet that is fuller and tawnier than most, looks a bit like a Golden (right) in ways my 2008 Roxbury (left) does not.

Click on any photo for a close-up.

Compared to Roxbury, Golden is generally (but maybe not always) smaller, more russeted, finer-grained, more complex, and crisper.


  1. You inspired me to do a little research into the Roxbury Russet. I believe that is is also known as a Boston Russet. It seems to have an interesting history as well. Thanks for the clarification!

  2. Clarification, well, it only took me a year to figure this out!

    I am very much at the mercy of what the growers tell me, but I'm learning.

    According to the venerable Apples of New York, Roxbury is not only know as Boston Russet, but also Belpre, Marrietta, Putnam, Shippin's, and Sylvan Russet, among other variations.


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