Coeur de Boeuf, Cuore di Bue, Ox Heart, Oxheart,… A bevy of bovine bywords for a bountiful, flavorful, and 100% practical heirloom tomato variety that we’ve been cultivating in Rosslyn’s vegetable gardens for over a decade.
And since it’s seed sourcing season again — time to reflect on last summer’s vegetable garden and plan what we hope to begin harvesting in in five or six months — my whimsical mind eschews efficient seed ordering and stalls a moment for an Coeur de Boeuf haiku.
No swollen coin purse
blushing with loot, green thong drawn,
this heart of an ox.
Why Coeur de Boeuf?
The moniker’s derivation becomes obvious the first time you spy one of these tomatoes up close. The honestly do resemble an ox heart, albeit a less bloody and more aesthetically fetching ox heart.
A dozen years ago I tasted Coeur de Boeuf tomatoes for the first time (see “Cuore di Bue“), and I’ve been planting them ever since. The fruit are dense, easy to slice, and full of flavor. Each a feast. And unlike some tomato varieties that just barely contain a geyser of gelatinous liquid, Coeur de Boeuf tomatoes are heavy with fleshy tomato “meat”. The skins are often slightly striped, orange and red, with ridges that run top to bottom reminiscent of a small pumpkin. Or a full pouch gathered with a string at the top. (As I understand it, this variety is especially popular among canners and tomato sauce makers, but we eat them long before preserving becomes a priority.)
As I plan tomato plants for summer 2022, I’m also brainstorming another scheme to accelerate maturation, ripening, and harvest of this coveted vegetable garden staple. Think incubation, jumpstarting transplant date from Mother’s Day to… But I’m saying too much too early. I’ll resist divulging the pipe dream until it’s closer to reality. Or redaction!
In the mean time, if you’re wondering about what tomato plants to grow in your garden, you might appreciate Nan Schiller’s post, “21 of the Best Heirloom Tomatoes“.