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Russets definitely are the best. I remember eating them as a child in England, and liking them despite their looks. They are usually available in West Quebec stores.

If russets were a brand name, the monopolist would have an incentive to offer free samples, to get people to try them. But there is little incentive for competitive firms producing russet apples to do the same. There's a collective action problem.

Nick, yes, because one russet apple grower couldn't stop other growers from harvesting the benefits of her marketing activities.

Don't tell Stephen Gordon, but I think what we need here is a russet apple marketing board.

On overcoming prejudice, the following link may be of interest. :)


In fact: there is both a very large market for russets - and production. A Canadian russet lover has to go to France, where every supermarket - almost all year round - has mounds of "reinettes du Canada" - our lowly Russets, all exported and unavailable to us here.

cg - that is absolutely fascinating! It would also explain why Nick can find them in West Quebec, and I was able to surprise my out-of-town guests by finding them without difficulty in Ottawa.

There is this basic result in trade theory that says that, all else being equal, the most expensive goods get exported, because those are the ones that make most sense to ship. I wonder if russets are an example of that.

Min - thanks for the link. In a sense that story both confirms and denies the Sam-I-am theory of affirmative action. It confirms it in that it suggests that personal knowledge and experience can indeed change a person's beliefs. But also note that Daryl Davis, the black man featured in the article, was what we call here in Ottawa a diplo-brat. He grew up without living with the kind of everyday racism experienced by black Americans, the kind of grinding oppression described here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2512374/Florida-police-stop-man-258-times-TRESPASSING-place-work.html. It's not clear that simply being given a break, one chance to prove one's worth, is enough to allow someone to overcome that kind of disadvantage.

I love Russets, but I have only seen them in an Ontario supermarket once. They are known as "leathercoats" for a reason.

OTOH Pink Ladies, Honeycrisps, Galas and Empires are just fine too.

Apple tastes do change. The market for Red Delicious has plummeted as the apple's quality sank and other varieties with as much sweetness but more character (hello Empire and Honeycrisp) have taken off. The McIntosh is a mainstay but it is not as dominant as it once was. However the McIntosh and the Golden Delicious are the mother and father to the majority of modern apple varieties. Most modern varieties have one or the other in their line.

A thought I've had on affirmative action is that generally the maligned group (women, blacks, etc.) have to be much more capable to be considered (as anecdote see http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/07/31/funny-how-gender-never-came-up-during-bernankes-nomination-or-greenspans-or-volckers/ ) in other words, they are often maligned in favour of weaker candidates. Thus, requiring a certain percentage belong to a group is likely to raise the overall quality.

Though most of the cost is borne by the discriminated, there is a price to be paid by the discriminant. In the U.S South and South Africa, GDP was lower than it would have been. But keeping the blacks down was seemed to be worth it. Like in a nasty divorce, schadenfreude is a powerful emotion.The suffering of the other part is worth more than your own and may be part of your enjooyment... So we have to be rationnal in their stead...

Ignoramus - this is the idea behind one common test for the existence of discrimination: take an activity for which productivity is measurable, e.g. # of points scored by a hockey player, and see if players that are members of a discriminated group score more points. If this is the case, it suggests that these players have to be better to get ahead. Another kind of test is to see if teams that have less discriminatory recruiting practices have better outcomes.

In the NHL there is some evidence that French Canadian players experience discrimination - see, e.g. this paper, which finds that teams with an unusually low proportion of French Canadian players do poorly: http://www.cbe.csueastbay.edu/~lkahane/6-4550/6_4550_read/Kahane_RIO_%202005.pdf. Of course this paper also finds that discrimination in favour of French Canadians is also costly - teams with an unusually high proportion of French Canadians also seem to have less good records. I'd be a bit suspicious of that later result, though, it might be quite sensitive to the performance of the Canadiens.

Frances: fun thing is whenever the subject is raised (beginning with the works of Marc Lavoie at U. of Otttawa from his own experience in fencing)CBC and G&M derides that...

Wikipedia says the russeting is a fearure of the skin of an apple of many varieties and is not a variety of apple.

Is that true?

Greg - it sounds plausible to me. Wikipedia also suggested that russetting makes apples more vulnerable to infection/pests/bad things which is why it's not considered a desirable feature in new cultivars. Perhaps in other countries there are multiple varieties of russet apples, and the russets are called by their proper names, but here I've only seen apples labelled as "russet apples".

Only a few hundred miles away, and in pretty good apple country -- Maine -- and I've never heard of a russet apple. The internet tells me that some of the heirloom places have them.


I get around the supply problem by growing my own. The specific variety I have is called Golden Russet. In my experience they're actually a tiny bit less likely to be invaded by pests than my other apples. An additional attraction is that they are highly thought of as cider apples.

On the being more productive thing, of course there's Charlotte Whitten's old line to the effect that women need to be twice as good as men - but that fortunately that's not too difficult,

Jim - what do you do with them? Do you make your own cider? I'm feeling a visit to PEI should be on the agenda....

This year we made cider (though not the hard stuff - maybe next year). Amazing flavour from a mix of four or five types.

The Berenstain Bears partially covered this a long time ago :)

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