This is a tale of the OxHeart and the Bloody Butcher. Sounds a little like a Gothic novel, doesn’t it? Do not be afraid: These intriguing names belong not to characters in some trashy novel, but to tomatoes growing right now in the garden of Furnace Town Living Heritage Museum near Snow Hill.
“They may not look like what you get from Sam’s or Super G” (or from a local produce stand, for that matter), “but you can’t beat the taste,” said Denise Smullen, 19th century gardener at Furnace Town.
Smullen grows period plants whose ancestors date to 1850 or before, and she’s got several varieties of old-fashioned tomatoes ripening for an heirloom tomato tasting at Furnace Town Sunday, Aug. 8. Educators from the Maryland Cooperative Extension will be on hand to assist with the 2 to 4 p.m. tasting, which is free with museum admission that day.
Tasters will be savoring taste, moisture content, color and texture. “It’s sort of like a wine tasting, but with little plates instead of glasses. And we’re not spitting in between,” said Kathy Fisher, Furnace Town executive director.
In addition to the OxHeart, which looks very much like a real heart, and the Bloody Butcher, a half-fist sized globe with bright red body and green-yellow shoulders and a crunchy texture, Furnace Town will opt for tasting the Hartman Yellow Gooseberry, a bright orangey-yellow cherry tomato; the grape-like Reisentraube; and the Early Big Red, which despite its name does not have the same bold red color we’ve come to expect from tomatoes today.