True Love Seeds - Aunt Lous Underground Railroad Tomato

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06/13/2023 10:16:05
Storied, dark pink-red slicer weighing in at 4-12 ounces with a pleasant tang and lots of seeds. While tomatoes are native to South America and were likely domesticated in Mexico, the story of this particular variety begins in the mid-19th century with an unnamed Black man, perhaps escaping slavery, from Kentucky to Ripley, Ohio, seeds in hand. Ripley was home to Rankin House, which is now known to have been an important safe house on the underground railroad, and it was in this town where he shared some of these tomato seeds with a white woman named Lou. Aunt Lou shared this tomato with her great nephew Francis Parker, who was quite a character, and who shared seed packets with hand-written descriptions far and wide. Parker shared the seeds with a Mr. Ellis in Sardinia, Ohio, who passed them to tomato enthusiasts Gary Millwood of Kentucky's Blue Ribbon Tomatoes and seed keeper Mary Stenger in Berea, KY. They consulted with Mr. Ellis about the story, and decided to change the name from simply “Aunt Lou” to the name it has today. In 2010, Stenger listed this tomato in the Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook, and in 2018, Jay Erisman’s nomination earned the tomato a place in the Slow Food Ark of Taste.