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Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit Paperback – April 24, 2012
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"[A] thought-provoking book." ---Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
James Beard Award-winning journalist Barry Estabrook was a contributing editor at Gourmet magazine for eight years, writing investigative articles about where food comes from. He was the founding editor of Eating Well magazine and has written for the New York Times Magazine, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, Audubon, and the Washington Post, and contributes regularly to The Atlantic Monthly's website. His work has been anthologized in the Best American Food Writing series, and he has been interviewed on numerous television and radio shows. He lives and grows tomatoes in his garden in Vermont.
Top customer reviews
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Changed my views on tomatoes and agriculture. I’ve been shopping at farmers markets for produce for about a year and a half now since I read this book.
The author ends on a positive note, however, presenting scientists and farmers trying to right the ship,by attempting to restore taste to the tomato, while treating workers with the dignity they deserve.
While tomatoes might not be the most likely subject for a book, the author shows that drama can be found in any instance of human beings mistreating one another in the never ending hunt for greed and wealth.
Not your typical book on food or gardening, the faint of heart are advised to set this book down and back away. While I was delighted to learn about origins and some developments in tomato breeding, I also learned that very likely, my most loved ones and I have enjoyed sauces made from tomatoes picked by slaves.
Sorry to suggest it, but you probably have too. Not merely indentured servants, or poor, vulnerable people living in squalid conditions, but actual slaves.
In a few riveting chapters on the working conditions of migrant field workers, Estabrook uncovers matters about the human heart, both awful and wonderful. How these lowly workers finally affected huge corporations such as McDonalds, and Taco Bell made for fascinating reading. Estabrook chronicles the incremental steps farm owners, government, and corporate America reluctantly made before dramatic, about-face from policies that supported worker exploitation.
Somebody somewhere has said that great writing leaves marks on a reader's spirit; after the book is closed, the reader is left changed. Tomatoland seems to have left two marks on me. First, I seem to be naturally more inquisitive regarding the origins of what I procure for the family table. Where did this food come from? How far away did it have to travel? What is there to know about the people who grew or made it?
Second, while I've acquired several notable gardening books over the years and often dream over them during the cold, dark months, I doubt if I've ever been read a more motivating book before a growing season.
For example, after the chapters on organic growers supplying highend resturaunts, Estabrook has inspired me to again grow Brandywine, a heirloom tomato variety with a reputation for superb flavor but modest production. Many experienced tomato growers know that there are several strains of Brandywine. The folks of Johnny's Selected Seeds believe their pink Sudduth strain is the best. Lisa VonSaunder of Amishland Heirloom Seeds gushes that her Glick strain is the best of the best. Famed tomato grower, Carolyn Male seems to give the nod in her book, "100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden," toward the Red Brandywine with the regular-leaf foliage. Gary Ibsen ("The Great Tomato Book") on his stupendous website offers eight varieties of Brandywine--and seems to favor either the red Landis Valley strain, or the OTV strain, or maybe the pink, potato-leaf, Sudduth strain.
Not kidding, please be forewarned. Reading "Tomatoland" may cause you to decompensate into a serious food geek or probably insufferable garden nerd. You will know if you find yourself planning to grow several strains of Brandywine for your own taste test.