So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Monday, September 01, 2014


Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook
Tomatoland is an investigative report on the Florida agricultural businesses that supply winter tomatoes to the supermarkets. Most of the book focuses on a city most people don't know which is a drained swamp just 42 miles inland from Naples Florida called Immokalee.
The book looks at labor conditions and efforts that have been taken to improve them. It investigates the major growing firms and the agriculture techniques required to grow tomatoes in Florida, including the heavy use of fungicides, pesticides and herbicides, many of which are dangerous to humans.
The book also looks at an organic farmer in Florida who is proving that these methods can work there. A Pennsylvania farmer who grows Heirloom Tomatoes for New York City restaurants is also highlighted. The book begins and ends with a search for the tomato's earliest relatives in the dry mountainous soils of Mexico and South America.
If tomatoes are more than something red you add to your diet, if you love tomatoes for their taste and dread the winter products in the marketplace, if you care for social justice for farmworkers and their families, then this is a book to savor with a fresh garden tomato sandwich before the frosts of winter ends the season of local joy.


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