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Ripe: The Search for the Perfect Tomato Paperback – March 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582437122
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582437125
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,692,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Ripe

“Arthur Allen’s tomato odyssey takes him to every link in its production chain, from genetics to Chinese packing companies. Anyone who cares about how tomatoes taste will be fascinated by this journey, will never view pizza sauce the same way again, and will treasure those backyard summer wonders even more.” —Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat

“A robust tale of how tomatoes get to the table and why some don’t taste very good when they get there . . . An eye opener for foodies, consumers, and social justice activists alike.” —Kirkus

“A substantive and engaging reflection on lycopersicon esculentum and its transformation from early modern botanical curiosity to twentieth-century dietary staple.” —The Boston Globe

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Andrews on March 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
RIPE by Arthur Allen is an incredibly interesting, informative and ultimately inspirational tome that probes the tomato, its history and the industry which continues to provide horrible, cardboard-like excuses for a fruit that is enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people globally.

Allen explores the roots of the tomato fruit from its origins in the New World and its quick adoption by cultures worldwide and highlights the pioneering work of a few individuals and companies eager to preserve a trait marginalized by the food industrial complex: flavor.

Why do supermarket tomatoes taste so bad? And why are the tomatoes that taste so good so darn hard to come by?

Allen answers these questions in a provocative and evocative style that makes the book a delight to read.

A must for any lover or hater of the tomato, any home gardener, any chef (pro or amateur) and anyone interested in a prime example of the food industry's economic necessities trumping common sense.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mango Jeff on July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am deeply impressed by how this book covers the main issues in tomato farming while remaining entertaining. It is a story well told and worth your investment if you, or someone you know, have an interest in growing or eating good tomatoes. The author explains how we came to have nice looking but flavorless tomatoes in the store and how farms both big and small are trying to improve. At the same time, he makes clear why year-round, blemish-free, great tasting tomatoes are unlikely any time soon, if ever.

It's unfair for me to say that the book doesn't go into enough depth. As a member of a small farm that grows and sells tomatoes at a farmers market, my appetite for knowledge about growing tomatoes is pretty much bottomless. I would have loved a book twice as long that spent a bit more time on the many different types of tomatoes you might come across and how they are affected by local growing conditions, diseases, and pests. Would that book have been as enjoyable to the majority of folks as this was? Probably not. But if this book encourages a few of it's readers to wander out to a local farmers market and pay a little extra for a good tomato, then it did both of us a favor and I am grateful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hollywood Howie on July 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I didn't know there was so much to know about tomatoes.
If you ever ate one, or intend to, this well-written book is a must-read.

I really loved the sections about how big business is not so concerned about taste but about how tomatoes must be grown so that they can be effectively shipped and sold. I also loved when the author discussed his trip to the small towns in Italy looking for the perfect tomato.

In all a perfect book about a perfect fruit.

Hollywood Howie
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BigCJ65 on December 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sorry, but this book was a waste of time. Each chapter retells the story from the prior chapter and none of them is that interesting. I grow tomatoes, I like to eat tomatoes but this was really the story about industrial agriculture, and tomatoes were just the vehicle for telling that story. Don't waste your time.
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More About the Author

Arthur Allen was born in Cincinnati, educated at UC-Berkeley, and began his career as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press in Mexico and Central America. He later worked in Europe before moving to Washington where he has written about science, medicine and health for the past 20 years. He is currently an editor and reporter at POLITICO, where he writes about health and technology.

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Ripe: The Search for the Perfect Tomato
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