Flawed Fruit: The Not-So-Rosy Reality of Industrial Tomato Farming in America

Of all the fruits and vegetables we eat, perhaps none suffers more at the hands of factory farming than the beloved tomato. Those impeccably smooth, evenly shaped and perfectly red orbs that are commercially produced tomatoes have been stripped of nutrition and flavor, doused with pesticides, and were perhaps picked by slaves. How has agribusiness been able to so defile one of our favorite fruits? In this excerpt from his book “Tomatoland,” award-winning food journalist Barry Estabrook takes to the tomato trail, tracing the fruit from its wild origins in Peru to its modern-day incarnation in the $5 billion tomato industry based in Florida. Estabrook’s shocking findings on the behind-the-scenes world of tomato production in America show the high price we pay as a society when we disregard sustainability in our food system.

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