Just in Time for Summer
Published on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 11:04am
Do you ever wonder why you can’t find a flavorful tomato in the grocery store, or why they are hard enough to substitute for a baseball? Next time you are in the library, ask for a copy of Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook.
Inside the book you will learn how most tomatoes are picked green and later gassed with ethylene to make them appear red upon shipment. Not only are the growing tomatoes regularly bathed in a soup of chemicals and insecticides (as are the field workers who tend and harvest them), the flavor has been bred out in favor of uniformly round fruit that travels well, and has a long shelf life.
Those questioning the sustainability of our current industrial food supply chain will find plenty to contemplate here –- as well as the ethics of conditions in and around the fields, which have had truly devastating effects on the families and individuals who labor there.
This book expands on an article Estabrook wrote for Gourmet Magazine entitled "Politics of the Plate: The Price of Tomatoes."
--Debra Shumate, Branch Manager