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The Roxbury Russet is an apple cultivar. It is believed to be the oldest variety of apple bred in the United States, having first been discovered and named in the mid-17th century in the former Town of Roxbury, part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony southwest of (now part of) Boston.[1]

It is a greyish-green russet apple known for its good winter keeping qualities as well as its suitability for making cider and juice. It is not widely grown or commercially available due to general commercial disfavor for russet varieties; the dull and heavily marked face makes it hard to sell now.[1] The yellow-green flesh is firm and coarse-textured, suited for eating fresh and cooking.[1] It is available from growers that specialize in heirloom plants. It ripens from September to October,[2] and so is commonly available in autumn in farmer’s markets in the Northeast. Each apple contains 12.87% sugar that ferments to 6% alcohol in hard cider production.[3]

The roxbury russet was first grown in Roxbury, Massachusetts by Joseph Warren, who died in 1755 of a broken neck after falling from a ladder while picking apples.[4][5] Propagation wood (it propagates by grafting)[2] was taken to Connecticut soon after 1649.[3]

Thomas Jefferson planted a number of ‘Roxbury Russet’ trees in Monticello’s South Orchard in 1778.[6]

Current cultivation


  • Maple Valley Orchards & Nursery, Wisconsin
  • Trees of Antiquity, Paso Robles, CA


The historic Shirley-Eustis House museum in Roxbury, Massachusetts, was planted in 1993 with five Roxbury Russet apple trees.[7]

  • The Apple Farm—Bates & Schmitt, Philo, CA
  • Black Diamond Farm, Trumansburg NY
  • Foggy Ridge Cider, Dugspur, VA
  • Greenmantle Nursery, Garberville CA
  • Greenwood Farm, Northfield, MA
  • Lamb Abbey Orchards, Maine—120 varieties of apple
  • Liberty Farm, NJ
  • McLeod Brothers Orchard, Milford, NH
  • Meadowbrook Orchards, Sterling, MA
  • Nashoba Winery, Bolton, MA
  • Pavolka Fruit Farm, Michigan City, IN
  • Shelburne Orchards, Shelburne, VT
  • Steiner Flat Orchard, Douglas City, CA—Trinity Heritage Orchard Project, University of California Cooperative Extension
Written on May 3rd, 2012 , Fruits Tags:

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