If one food is ubiquitous to the local food movement, it is the tomato. As we are in the harvest season, many of you are probably canning some this weekend! We’ve all come to realize that the fruit is incredibly delicious when picked ripe off the vine, but we’ve also learned that it doesn’t travel well. We know that most supermarket tomatoes won’t be any good and that purchasing them outside of the summer months is a joke (hydroponics being a possible exception).
In Tomatoland, Barry Estabrook shows readers that there is a lot more to discuss when it comes to the tomato. For example, most tomatoes available in America, especially in winter, were grown in Florida using obscene amounts of pesticides and fertilizers and picked by laborers under slave conditions. In fact, lawsuits are currently in play utilizing 150 year old laws banning slavery. Yes, tomato growing corporations in Florida are being sued for slavery right now.
Readers interested in the tomato specifically, or more generally in the industrial food system, how it evolved and how to improve it, will find Tomatoland a good read.