Roxbury Russet Apple

Roxbury Russet Apple

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History: Roxbury Russet is the oldest American apple still under cultivation. It was discovered around 1650 in Roxbury, near Boston. These apples were well-known for their long keeping ability and qualities for cider making. They were grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and are even referenced in one of Nathanial Hawthorne's novels. Due to the russet skin, these apples have never achieved true commercial success but they can still be commonly found in American farmer's markets. 

Why We Grow It: Aside from its historic roots, Roxbury Russet is an excellent all-around apple that can be eaten fresh, used in cooking, and made into a great cider. It has a nice flavour that is sweet and sharp. This variety is also a good choice for organic orchards.

Canadian Hardiness Zone: 5

Soil Preference: Sandy loam, loam, clay loam. Prefers average to moist conditions, avoid planting anywhere that floods for more than two weeks in the spring. Generally quite adaptable to different soil conditions. 

Growth Habits and Disease Resistance: Partially tip-bearing, moderately vigorous, tends to crop every other year but has good crops when it does. Slightly susceptible to mildew and fireblight, but resistant to scab and cedar rust

Sun/Shade: Full sun (approx. 8-10 hours of sun daily)

Pollination: Requires a pollinator of a different apple variety that blooms around the same time

Flowering Time: Middle

Ripens: Late October

Storage: Keeps until June when stored in cold storage

Recommended Use: Fresh eating, cooking, cider

Cider Properties:*
  • Class: Sharp 
  • Sugar: High, SG 1.061
  • Acidity: Medium, TA 6.1 g/L
  • Tannins: Low, 0.8 g/L
  • Juice Yield: Low 202 mL/lb
  • Recommendations: Makes an excellent base for cider blends

Size including roots:

  • 1 year grade 100-200 cm whip
  • 2 year grade 100 cm+ with 3 or more branches, 30 cm or more
  • B grade less than 100 cm

*Information based on Washington State University's "Cultivar Performance Gallery"