We all love our tomatoes so much that the world eats billions worth of them annually.  We wanted to put a spot light this week on a book titled “Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit“.  The author of the book is Barry Estabrook and the book is based on the James Beard’s Award winning article “The Price of Tomatoes”.  Without saying to much this book reveals a side of the tomato you never knew about.  You will find many surprises in this book as you take the journey through this investigative report with a controversial look at the tomato.  The part of the book that is really heart breaking and eye opening is when you read the story about what the chemicals have done to mothers that work in the tomato fields and their children. This book will make you even more mindful of where your tomato is coming from and will hopefully encourage people to look at buying organic and local.  See the ugly side of the tomato agriculture business exposed in this book.    Another Tomato article on GMOFreeBaby.com is: Do we need a Purple GMO Tomato?

What the Publisher Says

Supermarket produce sections bulging with a year-round supply of perfectly round, bright red-orange tomatoes have become all but a national birthright. But in Tomatoland, which is based on his James Beard Award–winning article, “The Price of Tomatoes,”investigative food journalist Barry Estabrook reveals the huge human and environmental cost of the $5 billion fresh tomato industry. Fields are sprayed with  more than 100 different herbicides and pesticides. Tomatoes are picked hard and green and artificially gassed until their skins acquire a marketable hue. Modern plant breeding has tripled yields, but produces fruits with a fraction of the calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, and fourteen tiimes as much sodium as the tomatoes our parents enjoyed. The relentless drive for low costs has fostered a thriving modern-day slave trade in the United States. How have we come to this point?

Estabrook traces the supermarket tomato from its birthplace in the deserts of Peru to the impoverished town of Immokalee, Florida, a.k.a. the tomato capital of the United States. He visits the laboratories of seedsmen trying to develop varieties that can withstand the rigors of agribusiness and still taste like a garden tomato, and then moves on to commercial growers who operate on tens of thousands of acres, and eventually to a hillside field in Pennsylvania, where he meets an obsessed farmer who produces delectable tomatoes for the nation’s top restaurants.

Throughout Tomatoland, Estabrook presents a Who’s Who cast of characters in the tomato industry: The avuncular octogenarian whose conglomerate grows one out of every eight tomatoes eaten in the United States; the ex-marine who heads the group that dictates the size, color, and shape of every tomato shipped out of Florida; the United States attorney who has doggedly prosecuted human traffickers for the past decade; the Guatemalan peasant who came north to earn money for his parents’ medical bills and found himself enslaved for two years.

Tomatoland reads like a suspenseful whodunit and an exposé of today’s agribusiness systems and the price we pay as a society when we take taste and thought out of our food purchases.

TomatoLand Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)