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[Feature] [Book Review] Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit

by Eco Generation | 05-03-2014 09:36 Comments 5 recommendations 0

Title: Tomatoland: 
            How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit  
Author: Barry Estabrook 
Editorial House: Andrews McMeel Publishing 

Summary of the contents
The book covers Florida's industry as well as an expose of today's agribusiness system, which you probably already know is highly exploitative of both workers and the environment. Tomatoland combines history, passion for taste and investigative reporting on modern agribusiness and environmental issue into a revealing, controversial look at the tomato, the fruit we love so much that we eat $4 billion- worth annually. The main focus of this book is the environmental and human costs of the multi-billion dollar industry with the fast food industry and supermarkets forcing growers to offer cheaper and cheaper tomatoes that look perfect but where TASTE does not enter the equation, they have fostered an industry that thrives under slavery conditions. Actually tomato growing in Florida is a weird business all the way around. Florida is too humid to grow tomato well and the soil is basically sand and is devoid of nutrients also the conditions that are bad for tomatoes are excellent for tomato loving insects. Florida growers crop by blasting the bags with pesticides and pumping the soil with fertilizers, neither of which are good for the laborers or Environment. With the final chapter there is hope that perhaps the day will come when consumer demand will supplant the factory and we will get what we want, a tasty tomato. 

Opinion and Impression 
The vision of tomato is something red, juicy and delicious, the perfect addition to any meal. When I think about it, tomatoes are the most prevalent fruit and yes it is a fruit in my diet. I add it to salads, use it as a ketchup, salsa, pasta sauce and even drink a glass of it as vegetable juice. So I am a fan and I wanted to find out from Estabrook why winter tomatoes taste like cardboard and are so perfectly tasteless and I did. Two years back I have grown them in garden. I know how wonderful the flavor and taste can be, we expect tomatoes to taste like well tomatoes. If our vision of a tomatoes what I wrote in my opening paragraph, Then why does store bought tomatoes taste like, well nothing. To answer this question- Barry Estabrook(author) look the industry, especially the one located in Florida. While we want taste, the tomato industry wants something that is quick and can take the rigors of shipping hundreds of miles. They have produced a tomato that is uniform in shape, color, consistency and tolerance, with no discussion give to it having an actual taste. If there is anything I have learned to expect it is the agriculture industry has managed to cause harm our food. When I read this book with that expectation, I don't be disappointed. He gives us an industry that is growing food in an impossible region, the state of Florida. Every chapter tells a different story about pesticides, farming practices and the history of tomato itself. I think each chapter could be turned into a book in itself. Some of them seemed to go on a bit long for me. I think probably because I was eager to see where things currently stand for the tomato industry and couldn't yet to the end fast enough. Really I don't know what Estabrook could have cut out, all of the material is important pertinent to the topic. Estabrook also explores several possibilities from the work of organic farmers to that of tomatoes breeders for years, the tomato industry assumed people just want "Something red to put on their salad". They made them cosmetically perfect and perfectly flavorless but now, they are working on something red that actually taste good. 

Comment of recommendation
What an eye-opener-Fantastically readable and tremendously informative. Each chapter addresses a new topic. I consistently learning new and important and interesting facts. I read it in a wheel and it has changed the way I shop. I would recommend this book to anyone. This is the one book that I thought a lot about after reading when shopping tomatoes at the local store. From why are the tomatoes tasteless yet in the middle of winter, why they are very firm. Anyone who has ever eaten a tomato must read this book-A fascinating account of the history of the tomato and the Florida tomato industry. After reading this book you will never look at a tomato the same. I learned about it from every aspect's somehow that's more interesting that i thought it would be and much of the book tells the story promised by the subtitle - How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. Also you'll learn why "Salad tomatoes" Feel and taste like Tennis Balls. Tomatoland also expose that How Modern Agriculture destroying our environment. So please read at once to enrich your knowledge. If you don't have time to read complete book then go through the summary and story of the book. Overall Tomatoland present a clear picture of how we are letting cosmetic factors dictate our choices to our own ruin. It's scary and sad and also true. This is not a subject just for "foodies", but for Everyone.

Recommended by Dharmendra Kapri from India


  • says :
    Eye opener !
    Posted 24-10-2015 21:31

  • says :
    The title is true.
    Posted 08-03-2015 22:12

  • says :
    Gonna read it soon!
    Posted 25-11-2014 19:22

  • says :
    Posted 25-11-2014 19:21

  • says :
    thanks for your book review. Its sound do interesting about Tomatoland. ^^
    Posted 22-11-2014 02:59

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