[NAFEX] Golden Russet apples

Douglas Woodard dwoodard at becon.org
Tue Oct 13 15:22:12 EDT 2009


Aside from clonal differences:

I have read statements that the quality of Golden Russet is even more
dependent on how it is grown than with most apples, that good
fertilization was especially needed. Conceivably clonal differences (or
different cultivars being sold under the name Golden Russet) might
account for part of this reputation but my guess is not all.

I've never grown it, but Golden Russet seems to be an apple that is
usually picked fairly late by those who want quality. I think the
weekend just past would be very early for it in most places, especially
places that had lots of cool cloudy weather in the preceding months, as
we have had hereabouts.

Golden Russet is a late keeping apple, and I expect that it would reach
best quality at least a few weeks after picking. I think my experience
with buying it bears this out.

I have seen a lot of variation in size and colour as well as eating
quality in the apples I have bought as Golden Russets over 35 years or so.

I don't find them quite as good as Northern Spies for eating fresh
(there is a lot of variation in Spies too) but on the whole I like them
a lot. They are excellent keepers in root cellar type storage if kept
in a damp atmosphere to prevent shrivelling to which their porous skin
makes them liable. One grower recommended to me to sprinkle the apples
with water before storing them in the plastic bushel bags (with
ventilation holes) in which they were sold; I tried it and had good results.

Around 1981 I met an elderly couple with an orchard and roadside
stand on the southern city limits of Ottawa on Highway 16 (Agriculture
Canada zone 5a), who told me that Golden Russet was not perfectly hardy
with them; they tended to lose a portion of their trees to test winters
every 20 years or so.

In 1985 I met a commercial grower near Vineland here who grew Golden
Russet on M9 trained to wires for a special Toronto market. He said that
Oriental people liked it; but that unfortunately after the heavy
thinning needed to get the size his market wanted it was no more
profitable than regular Red Delicious.

Old books say that Golden Russet was well liked for drying; that its
high solids meant that it lost less weight on drying than other apples;
which I suppose compensated for the reputedly lighter yields in terms of
gross weight on the tree.

Golden Russet seems to have been well liked for cooking in the old days; 
I expect by cooks with plenty of child labour for peeling many smallish 
apples.

I have noticed that discussions of juice/cider are usually enthusiastic
about Golden Russet but normally recommend blending it with Northern Spy.

I see that Tideview Cider in Nova Scotia offer
"Golden Russet Dry" as well as at least one blend containing Golden 
Russet. See
<http://www.nogginsfarm.ca/tideview_cider.php>


Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Niagara Peninsula



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