Roxbury Russet Apple Delivery or Pickup
The Instacart guide to Roxbury Russet apple products
About Roxbury Russet apples
The Roxbury Russet apple first appeared during the mid-1600s in the Massachusetts Bay Colony town of Roxbury, a few miles southwest of Boston. Roxbury Russet apple trees are among the oldest cultivar bred in the United States. Other common names for the Roxbury Russet apple include Boston Russet, Putnam Russet, and Sylvan Russet.
Roxbury Russet apples have a green-gray skin with plenty of coarse russet color. The yellow-green flesh of the Roxbury Russet has a firm, rough texture and a sweet-tart flavor that tastes great eaten fresh or when used in cooking. The Roxbury Russet's initial appeal was its keeping ability, an essential characteristic in the age before refrigeration. Roxbury Russet apples make great cider and juice, another sought-after feature of the period.
Today, Russet apples are out of favor, mainly because they have a dull color and mottled face that doesn't look as good as the bright and shiny apple varieties now available. However, the flavor has consistently been above average. Roxbury Russet apples are grown predominantly by heirloom specialists yet still find their way into grocery stores and farmers markets across the U.S. Northeast.
The wood propagating Roxbury Russet trees first underwent grafting in Connecticut in 1649. Thomas Jefferson helped the propagation along in 1778 when he planted Roxbury Russet trees in Monticello's South Orchard.
Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam grew Roxbury Russet apples on his farm in Pomfret, Connecticut, hence the name Putnam Russet. Putnam's grandson, also named Israel Putnam, brought the Roxbury Russet to the Ohio Valley in 1796, along with approximately two dozen other apple varieties.
As the oldest apple cultivar in the United States, the Roxbury Russet was likely a seedling brought over by European settlers. Perhaps one fascinating aspect of North American apple development was how few of the original European varieties could adapt and thrive in the environment. Instead, seedlings of European varieties were better suited to the climate and further propagated. The fact that apples do not grow true from seed made this propagation possible.
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