Roxbury Russet may be the oldest named apple variety in America. In Volume 1 of Apples of New York State, S.A. Beach wrote that the Roxbury Russet originated in Roxbury, Massacheusetts, in the early 1600's. The descendants of a man named Joseph Warren claim that their ancestor grew the first Roxbury Russet. He was born in Roxbury around 1696 and died there of a broken neck after falling from a ladder while picking apples in 1755.
Whatever the date of origin, Roxbury Russet had spread throughout the northeast by the late 1700's. In 1850 it was shipped around Cape Horn and planted in Napa Valley, California and remained popular throughout the 1800's as a winter storage apple in the days before refrigeration.
However , the Roxbury Russet was not all that attractive, having a rough, mottled, sometimes bumpy skin. As North Americans stored less apples for themselves and bought more often at the market appearance became more important and the Russet clan slid into obscurity.
The text FRUITS OF ONTARIO 1906 reports " one of the staple export varieties in many parts of southern Ontario because of it's long keeping qualities. It resists scab well"
The flavor is tart-sweet, spright with greenish-white flesh, juicy, for eating, cooking, storage. Fruit is flattened, rough russet appearance. Tree is fairly vigorous, may have some disease resistance. Roxbury Russet should be used out of storage prior to Golden Russet.
Harvest of Roxbury Russet at Siloam Orchards takes place in early October. To reserve a sample for tasting call ahead of time (September ) and we'll put a few away for you.