Articles from June 2011



Tomatoland: Estabrook Talks Tomato with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross

If you bite into a tomato between the months of October and June, chances are that tomato came from Florida. The Sunshine State accounts for one-third of all fresh tomatoes produced in the United States — and virtually all of the tomatoes raised during the fall and winter seasons. But the tomatoes grown in Florida [...]

Felons in the Fields: Jim Crow Raises his Ugly Head in Modern-Day Georgia Thanks to New Immigration Law

When southern farmers faced a sudden shortage of fieldworkers after their slaves were freed following the Civil War, they made a request to local sheriffs: Go out and arrest some healthy-looking African Americans—vagrancy or any other trumped-up charge would do—and then lease them to us as farm laborers. Those convict-lease programs worked out well for [...]

Join the Great Tomato Debate: Tim Worstall of Forbes and Adam Smith vs. Me

Tim Worstall of Forbes took me to task earlier this week for some opinions expressed in my book, Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Has Ruined Our Most Alluring Fruit. Read his broadside below, followed by my reply.   Mr. Worstall writes: Here’s an extract from a new book by Barry Estabrook called Tomatoland. Essentially, it’s a [...]

Time on “Tomatoland.” Read the review

Estabrook gives the history, science and politics of the tomato, all in service of laying the blame for the ruination of a wonderful fruit. He looks through the lens of the fast-spreading movement to draw attention to the sources and quality of our food. In that, he taught me a lot—not just about farmer’s markets [...]

An Important Read if You are Concerned about Saving the Oceans–Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks, by Juliet Eilperin

Juliet Eilperin is a courageous reporter. I am not referring to the times she put on scuba gear and swam with lemon sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, black nose sharks, and whale sharks during her research for Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks. What required real bravery was going into a Hong Kong [...]

Washington Post Review: “Tomatoland” An Indictment of Modern Agriculture

  Estabrook’s exposure of the resulting environmental and human tragedies places “Tomatoland” in the tradition of the best muckraking journalism, from Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” to Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation.” There are plenty of shocking statistics: For instance, in 2006, Florida growers sprayed nearly 8 million pounds of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides on their [...]

Mark Bittman: The True Cost of Tomatoes

Mass-produced tomatoes have become redder, more tender and slightly more flavorful than the crunchy orange “cello-wrapped” specimens of a couple of decades ago, but the lives of the workers who grow and pick them haven’t improved much since Edward R. Murrow’s revealing and deservedly famous Harvest of Shame report of 1960, which contained the infamous [...]

Disgrace! Multi-Millionaire Florida Governor Vetoes Bill Providing Aid to Farmworkers Sickened by Pesticides

No wonder Tea Party activists love Florida Governor Rick Scott. To save a pittance on the state’s budget, the new governor, who has a personal net worth of more than $200 million, thanks in part to being president of a healthcare company that perpetrated the biggest medical fraud in United States’ history, vetoed a bill [...]

The Tomatoland Q&A from Epicurious.com

Read award-winning journalist Barry Estabrook’s Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit and you won’t look at a tomato in the same way again. What began as an exposé on the slave-like working conditions faced by modern-day tomato workers (“The Price of Tomatoes,” Gourmet, March 2009) is now a book that paints [...]

Tomatoland Reviewed by Corby Kummer “Dean of American Food Journalists” on AtlanticLife

If you care about social justice—or eat tomatoes—read this account of the past, present, and future of a ubiquitous fruit   Yesterday marked the official publication date of Barry Estabrook’s Tomatoland, and we’re lucky to have an excerpt from it today—as I’m immensely proud that we’ve been able to feature Barry’s beautifully reported and written [...]