Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2008
I grew up in hillbilly country. Cow tipping was not just a nightly pastime, it was a certified sport. I have often wondered if there was a difference between a redneck and a hillbilly. In my mind, hillbilly just sounds like a nicer person. Like Jed from the Beverly Hillbillies. Redneck are what you call a hillbilly when he is being an asshole.
So, when you have a tomato called Hillbilly, you hope that they mean it in that old fashion, barefoot and hayseed sort of way. Not the redneck sort of way.
This tomato at least comes by its name honestly, as it was developed a few centuries ago in West Virginia, the heart of hillbilly country. Nice people, few teeth.
This tomato was a rough one to judge on ripeness. Pictures on the internet range from deep orange with just a slight yellow marbling to yellowish-green with a slight blush inside. I went with my gut on this one.
The description from the company I got it from reads:
Hillbilly Tomato is an ancient heirloom from the hills of West Virginia. Fruits are large, mild with an unusual orange-yellow color streaked and mottled with red.
The Beauty Pageant:
Size: Smallish beefsteak. There are a few larger ones on the plant, but 1lb is about all any of them are.
Shape: Flattened and bumpy. Rolling shoulders and rounded bottom.
The inside: Classic beefsteak. Thick central core with multiple chambers around the center. Super tight gel and very little of it. Makes for a pretty dry cut tomato.
Texture: Firm, but not unripe firm. A little grainy.
Off the Vine Tasting: Whoa! That is a surprising tomato. I had read that they were sweet, but it tastes like they are more a piece of fruit than a tomato. I bet in a blindfold test I could convince someone that they were eating very ripe peaches or melon. It is that sweet. And very unexpected. The gel is sour, but there is so little gel that it has little impact on the flavor.
Sliced and Salted Tasting: Salt just makes it sweeter. Almost too sweet.
Cooking Thoughts:This is a nice slicer and looks spectacular on the plate. Certainly a tomato you can serve as a side dish. Your dinner guests will be surprised as well. This is defiantly a tomato that will cause their tastebuds to do a double take. Not sure how much many people would like this on a sandwich though. Tomato taste is not really strong and you would have a completely different flavor combo. There is one thing that this tomato would be fun for and that is to serve with or as a dessert. It is sweet enough to easily replace fruit, so it might be fun to make a pie or serve with cheese.
Productive plant. Pretty self contained.
Will Hanna grow this one again:
Maybe. The flavor is pretty cool and I can’t wait till the next one is ripe so I can serve it to my kids. The problem is that the flavor is so sweet and so surprising that it will be difficult to do anything with it other than serve it as a “gee-whizâ€ sort of side dish.