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The pericarp tissue, the walls of a tomato, give it strength and some sweetness, but no acidity.


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The harder a tomato is, the more bland it is likely to taste. Longevity is prolonged by keeping it cold. Chilling the tomato below 50F also destroys its taste - "reduces the fragrant volatile chemicals that are all-important in giving the fruit its distinctive flavor". If you pick a tomato when it is ripe it will spoil long before it makes it way to the grocery store in far away lands.

If you pick it when still unripe it looks green and unappealing. So scientists conjured up a way to give the tomato a red appearance even as the tomato was unripe - by gassing it with ethylene, a "gas that plants produce naturally as a final step in maturing their fruits" In summary, I think this book is a sort of Fast Food Nation for the tomato.

While Fast Food Nation is a tour-de-force, Tomatoland still engages, educates, and shocks - it is a must-read. See all reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published 6 months ago.

Tomatoland : how modern industrial agriculture destroyed our

Published 7 months ago. Published 12 months ago. Published 1 year ago. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway. Customers who bought this item also bought. A Natural History of Four Meals. Behind the Kitchen Door. Pages with related products. See and discover other items: There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Supermarket produce sections bulging with a year-round supply of perfectly round, bright red-orange tomatoes have become all but a national birthright.

Fields are sprayed with more than one hundred different herbicides and pesticides.

Tomatoland How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit

Tomatoes are picked hard and gree Supermarket produce sections bulging with a year-round supply of perfectly round, bright red-orange tomatoes have become all but a national birthright. Tomatoes are picked hard and green and artificially gassed until their skins acquire a marketable hue. Modern plant breeding has tripled yields, but has also produced fruits with dramatically reduced amounts of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, and tomatoes that have fourteen times more sodium than the tomatoes our parents enjoyed.

The relentless drive for low costs has fostered a thriving modern-day slave trade in the United States. How have we come to this point? Estabrook traces the supermarket tomato from its birthplace in the deserts of Peru to the impoverished town of Immokalee, Florida, a. He visits the laboratories of seedsmen trying to develop varieties that can withstand the rigors of agribusiness and still taste like a garden tomato, and then moves on to commercial growers who operate on tens of thousands of acres, and eventually to a hillside field in Pennsylvania, where he meets an obsessed farmer who produces delectable tomatoes for the nation's top restaurants.

Throughout Tomatoland Estabrook presents a who's who cast of characters in the tomato industry: Aug 10, Linda Harkins rated it it was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Following in the footsteps of Frances Moore Lappe and Michael Pollan, this James Beard award-winning journalist provides insight into American tomato growing practices. Not only do we learn that supposedly mature green tomatoes are actually "gassed" to make them appear ripe in the produce section of the supermarket, but also how Florida manages to use loopholes to continue to spray vines with poisonous pesticides.

These chemicals are linked to birth defects as I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. These chemicals are linked to birth defects as well as depletion of the ozone layer. After what I've learned from Estabrook, I'll buy my tomatoes in season at the local farmers' market or Whole Foods. Sep 27, David Harris rated it it was amazing. Read the chapter called Re-Building the Tomato.

Great info about how people are working hard to rehabilitate the tomato after decades of abuse by large agri-businesses. If you don't have time to read the book, at least read this chapter. Feb 26, Kevin rated it really liked it Shelves: More about modern day slavery than about tomatoes. Granted, the slavery was centered around the tomato industry, but it would just as easily be applied to any crop picking industry out there.

It's hard for me to eat another tomato, honestly. Especially since I live in Florida and this is where the book focused on due to Florida's ability to get late harvests and meet the nationwide demand for tasteless, but perfectly round and consistent red colored tomatoes. Given that this book discussed situa More about modern day slavery than about tomatoes. Given that this book discussed situations a few years gone by, I do wonder how much has changed.

It's a shame about tomatoes, too. They were a sad sidebar to the already depressing slavery story. Tomatoes have been turned into a tasteless crop by a group of growers that were given a monopoly on what is legal and illegal to export from Florida to other states. The "ugly" tomato that was bred not genetically engineered for better taste was originally banned, then gradually allowed back in only under the condition it was labeled and treated like a GMO, even though it is not.

What I'm learning is that quality food doesn't fit well into commercial methodologies. If a commercial producer likes it, it's probably not healthy or tasty. Buying seasonally, locally, and growing your own produce can drastically cut the demand for crap like tasteless tomatoes and the slave work conditions it promotes.

Aug 05, Heather rated it really liked it. This is potentially the library book I've had checked out the longest approximately three and a half months now that I still actually managed to finish. Although Wildwood was probably pretty close. This book didn't really grab my interest in the first 40 pages, and it languished in my bag, next to my bed, on my desk at home, on my desk at work, for many weeks before I was able to really pick it up again.

Good thing I had some time to give it another chance! I came to this book with a desire t This is potentially the library book I've had checked out the longest approximately three and a half months now that I still actually managed to finish. I came to this book with a desire to answer the following questions: Why did our homegrown tomatoes taste like such utter crap this year?


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How can I be assured a tomato so acidic it'll burn my mouth? There was some generally interesting information up front, about the history of the tomato and how all plants we currently think of as tomatoes are almost identical genetically, except for a very few genes that dictate size, shape, color, and so on. An interviewee described a long journey to the Chilean mountainside in search of a tomato version of the missing link.

This helps me understand whence my cherished Willamette tomatoes were developed. Sprinkled throughout this page book, I found many answers to the question I was really interested in reading more in-depth about. I was fascinated to learn some interesting details about New Deal legislation that makes farm laborers disadvantaged to this day. But this book, in my opinion, got hijacked by the state of Florida. There is a huge market these days for books about food politics—so there are as many of them as there are knockoffs of Twilight.

More specifically, issues tied to the immigrant labor force. This section of the book seemed to be aiming to be a modern-day version of The Jungle , and the stories were extreme enough that some of the details actually pulled me out of the narrative. That's a bad sign. I took an iPhone photo of one passage and texted it to someone else: Workers sold into slave labor. It seems like this book wanted me to vow that I'll never eat store-bought tomatoes again. The horror story tactic worked when I read The Jungle as a 16 year old in , but not so fast this time!

My dear book, do you think that these incidents are limited to tomatoes? That future books about industrial production of strawberries, grapes, and other fruits and vegetables would not reveal similar stories? Get a load of 's " Harvest of Shame " if you think the problem is so specific. Everyone knows that "reclaimed" water used to water California crops is "reclaimed" from sewage, right?


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And we wonder why we have e. If I stopped eating all the "dirty ag," it seems like in winter months I would be left with the slug-munched romaine in my garden, and the bird-munched groundfruit underneath my apple tree. What an easy target. This is the state that brought us Cool Hand Luke , the election, and some of the nation's most notorious serial killers. In order to focus on the horror aspect, the book fails to explore any industrialized farming in the Canadian greenhouses—in fact they are only mentioned a few times.

Estabrook has chosen to focus his book on Florida, as he claims that a large portion of the nation's tomatoes are grown there. I think he may be speaking as a New York-centric east coaster, because in the Pacific Northwest I have only noticed Canadian and Mexican tomatoes in recent years. So I still feel like Estabrook's subject matter isn't tied to my region. Eventually the book dedicated a shorter chapter to exploring other parts of this flawed system, such as the struggles of the Joe Farmers. Estabrook did have a nice section about a farmer in Pennsylvania who seems to be the hope for the future—he produces quality tomatoes, manages to treat his workers right, he is immensely popular in New York City, and he has managed to keep his business running for many years.

He doesn't hit the reader over the head with the "hope for the future" business that closes the book, and after the heavy-handed middle section about labor, I feel that the book was sorely in need of a Michael Pollan-like "here's what you should do about it" conclusion. In fact, the book angered me enough with its misleading subtitle and my unfulfilled expectations that I'm going to write my own "here's what you should do about it" conclusion. Go read a Michael Pollan book instead if you're wanting to explore food politics.

If you're looking for tomato information like I was There's almost nothing Master Gardeners like to talk about more than tomatoes. Dec 31, Jacquelyn rated it really liked it Shelves: I expected to be bored with a history of industrial tomato production in Florida. I read the whole thing between last night and this afternoon. Bored would have been an improvement over how I am feeling right now. As someone who lives not far from Im After seeing Tomatoland: As someone who lives not far from Immokalee, which is a major subject in the book, it backs up everything I have ever heard on the news, from my high school Spanish teachers, and my mother on the conditions of the tomato laborers.

But the truth is so much more-conditions and prospects are much worse than anyone has ever let on. I feel ashamed to live so close to this poor, often enslaved, community and have not known more about it before now. Reading through the chapters on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers CIW broke my heart over the situations these people have been put through.

Estabrook does a good job highlighting the complex interplay of economic and social aspects in the tomato business. At times, it seems as though he has failed to highlight environmental aspects. And then you read about the pesticide use and the health abuses against these workers from being sprayed with pesticides while working in the fields, in violation of laws set up to prevent this.

He scares the reader with the sheer amount of chemicals spread on the fields, let alone the toxicity of these.

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He names each possible chemical that could be used and its harmful side effects. He writes about several cases of birth defects in the Immokalee area caused by improper exposure to pesticides. I cried through this part; I was heartbroken for these families. Yet they remain optimistic for their children and their prospects in the United States. He presents the CIW and highlights their work to improve the lot of the migrant workers in Immokalee. National campaigns against large fast food companies have been successful, but the CIW still has its work cut out for them.

Estabrook has highlighted those that help these workers well, the lawyers that fight tirelessly to get minimum wage for the workers. Not all of the book is spent on the issues of Immokalee. Estabrook also goes into the lack of taste in industrial tomatoes. He highlights current research being done at UF Go Gators! Progress is being made. In Florida, At this point, all seems hopeless for the tomato industry. Only now does Estabrook provide hope for both the industry and the tomato itself.

Tomatoland–The Book

He brings in Lady Moon Farms, which grows organic produce in Florida thought to be impossible by some experts. Not only does Beddard, the owner, turn a profit, he pays his workers fairly and provides free housing when the staff must migrate to Georgia and Pennsylvania. He also presents Tim Stark, owner and operator of Eckerton Hill Farm in Pennsylvania, who grows tomatoes and pays his workers a fair wage. There is a way to sustainably produce tomatoes and pay workers fairly.

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The tomato industry of Florida should take note-it can be done. If not for the sake of treating their workers humanely, then for the sake of bettering their public relations, which would improve their bottom line. As someone interested in researching what happens to the tomato culls not sent to be packed and sold, I was a little disappointed that Estabrook did not elaborate on this ridiculous amount of waste. However, that is a small issue for me.

I am so glad someone wrote this book and the information is compiled for those interested in this subject. This book provides something for everyone: Everyone should read it, especially if you live in Florida. Estabrook has provided the information to the public, and it remains to be seen what the public will do once they know the truth behind the tomato industry. Jan 24, Robert Beveridge rated it really liked it Shelves: How Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit Andrews McMeel Publishing, I picked up Tomtoland expecting a kind of first-world-problems foodie lament about how factory farming had turned the tomato from that red, bursting, joyous thing one finds occasionally during the summer at farmer's markets to the half-green, impossible-to-slice globule one can now find at the local hypermarket year-round.

And yes, there is a good bit of that, but there are Barry Estabrook, Tomatoland: There is, of course, the foodie lament as well; when Estabrook is concentrating on this aspect of the manuscript, he in general focuses on the science of the tomato, the reason that some sort of lumpy Peruvian fruit tastes perfectly like a tomato while the sweet-scented Florida globe tomato persists in tasting like nothing at all. There's a lot of science-in-layman's-terms stuff and some great interviews with folks who keep seed databases of heirloom tomatoes the framing device is about a team of guys heading to Peru to find one of the first strains of tomato-like plants still extant, and then Estabrook making the same trek at the end.

If you like food biographies, it is of course going to be right up your alley. There is the obligatory anti-factory-farm stuff, as well, and it makes sense; if you're trying to grow fifty thousand acres of tomatoes that all look and taste the same, you're going to breed out all the characteristics that make tomatoes interesting. And, of course, the small farmers who grow those interesting tomatoes get a bunch of sympathetic column inches, as they should; these are people who actually care about the food.

But the anti-factory-farm stuff takes a much, much darker turn during the middle third of the book, when Estabrook turns investigative journalist and starts tracing the history of the thousands upon thousands of undocumented migrant workers who toil in Florida's tomato fields. If you were ever anti-factory-farm, this section of the book will cement whatever you had in your head. It's more of a horror story than any fiction I read this year, and it's truly important writing—even if you've never really thought about the whole factory farm issue before perhaps especially if you've never etc.

One way or the other—whether you're interested in the social-justice aspect of the story, the foodie aspect of the story, or both—this is a must-read, one of the best books that crossed my desk this year. It doesn't matter who you are, I recommend this one to you. It is a stunning piece of work. Aug 19, Greg Zink rated it really liked it Shelves: The funny thing about food these days is the more you know, the harder it is to eat. Tomatoland shows how something as ubiquitous and common as an out of season tomato wreaks so much havoc on our society, our environment and the lives of so many people.

Along with the simple truth, they don't even taste good. Tomatoland presents a clear picture of how we are letting cosmetic factors dictate our choices to our own ruin. It's scary and sad and it's also true. This is not a subject just for 'foodies', but for everyone. Great book - about the human and ecological cost of mass-produced tomatoes. Highly recommended! Fantastically readable and tremendously informative.

As I started reading, I wondered whether Barry Estabrook would be able to fill the entire book on a single subject and maintain his narrative pull. He does.

Barry Estabrook - Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit

The prose is lively throughout. Each chapter addresses a new topic. We readers are consistently learning new and important and interesting facts. I read it in a week. And it has changed the way I shop. I would recommend this book to anyone! In fact, my husband--who detests the tomato--heard so much about the book from me that he had to read it next.

Now he can't wait to buttonhole his family and tell them interesting facts about tomatoes. Excellent book. And I hope it will change the way Florida grows tomatoes and treats workers. COM Terms Was this comment helpful?