Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ruby Jon

A sport of Jonathan

Today's photo mostly fails to capture Ruby Jon's intensely deep shade of crimson. In the past I've also been unable to depict the similarly dark hues of Arkansas Black and the mahogany reds of Black Oxford.

This image shows a dark red, but the reality is darker. Does the problem lie with my camera, the online medium, or my own limits as a photographer?

Ruby Jon is a sport of Jonathan, a wonderful old cultivar. The sportiness in this case is a "better" blush that covers more peel. Otherwise, the same apple.

The dark color is likely a product of time on and off the tree, since accounts of Ruby Jon do not mention especially deep tones as typical. Plain-vanilla Jonathan can get pretty dark too.

My Ruby Jons are squat with very moderate ribbing. Tiny lenticels are hard to spot and essentially disappear in the dark regions, which cover most of the apple.

The peel is glossy with natural wax. (Have a closer look at the stuff.)

Biting in reveals, well, a Jonathan, albeit one slightly past peak and with pink stains within the medium-coarse yellow flesh. Jonathan, of course, is an old classic, sweet and balanced and cidery, with flashes of spice.

I have a beef with sports like Kiku (Fuji) and Joburn (Braeburn) that masquerade as new varieties. Especially so if they are essentially the same apple as their respective parents.

Ruby Jon is an honest sport; like Red Delicious (a redder Delicious), its name nods to its parthenogenic parent and broadly hints at what the nature of the mutation is.

Any sport is still a dilemma for me, though: do I inflate my opinionated catalog with them, even though I have essentially reviewed them before? If I do not list them my readers might suppose they are unique breeds.

For this reason I make sure to include imposters like Kiki that are aggressively marketed as something new and wonderful. Why then omit honest Ruby Jon?


  1. For us, Ruby Jons grow really differently than Jonathans and, in fact, grow better for us. The trees are healthier and the apples taste better, so much so, that we're not planting anymore Jonathans, just Ruby Jons.

    1. Thank you, Gretchen. I guess this sport has some additional qualities beyond color.

      Where do your apples grow?

  2. Do you shoot your photos in RAW format, Adam? I suspect the lack of deep red shade is mostly exposure related and that could be fixed easily enough in post - especially if shot RAW. I'd be happy to take a try, but of course I didn't see the apple to know what it should look like.

  3. Steve, my camera and I are not that sophisticated. I'd have to hack my Canon to get RAW out of it, and then I wouldn't know what to do with it.

    I have tinkered with basic touch-up settings such as exposure, but it makes things too dark generally.

    Still I hadn't thought of RAW. That might be worth trying.

    My thought was that maybe the additive nature of the medium, in which Y+B+R = white, versus the subtractive nature of traditional photography (Y+B+R = black), is to blame. That the color might just be out of gamut.

    Or maybe it's me.


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