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