by Barry Estabrook
Andrews McMeel Publishing (e-book)
If you have ever wondered why tomatoes bought from the supermarket are insipid, this book will give you the answer - and much more than you will ever need to know about the humble fruit. Tomatoes grown on an industrial scale are picked when still green and hard, when they are easier to transport, then gassed with ethylene until they look artificially ripe. Which is why tomatoes allowed to mature on the vine taste sweeter than their uniformly round and sized factory-farmed counterparts. Not only are the latter bland, says Barry Estabrook, an investigative food writer in the US, but they are also lacking in nutrition: industrial tomatoes today have 30 per cent less vitamin C and thiamin, and 62 per cent less calcium, than they did in the 1960s. They also contain 14 times more sodium. Tomatoland focuses on farming in Florida, the US tomato capital, showing the dangerous conditions faced by workers, who are exposed to 100-plus herbicides and pesticides. Estabrook's findings should persuade you to start growing your own.