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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 has also produced fruits with dramatically reduced amounts of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C, and tomatoes that have 14 times more sodium than 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, Fla., aka 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 U.S. attorney who has doggedly prosecuted human traffickers for the past decade; and 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 as well as 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.
Within a single week in 2009, food journalist Robin Mather found herself on the threshold of a divorce and laid off from her job at the Chicago Tribune. Forced into a radical life change, she returned to her native rural Michigan.
There she learned to live on a limited budget while remaining true to her culinary principles of eating well and as locally as possible. In The Feast Nearby, Mather chronicles her year-long project: preparing and consuming three home-cooked, totally seasonal, and local meals a day -- all on $40 a week.
With insight and humor, Mather explores the confusion and needful compromises in eating locally. She examines why local often trumps organic, and wonders why the USDA recommends white bread, powdered milk and instant orange drinks as part of its “low-cost” food budget program.
Through local eating, Mather forges connections with the farmers, vendors and growers who provide her with sustenance. She becomes more closely attuned to the nuances of each season, inhabiting her little corner of the world more fully, and building a life richer than she imagined it could be.
The Feast Nearby celebrates small pleasures: home-roasted coffee, a pantry stocked with home-canned green beans and homemade preserves, and the contented clucking of laying hens in the backyard. Mather also draws on her rich culinary knowledge to present nearly 100 seasonal recipes that are inspiring, enticing and economical -- cooking goals that don’t always overlap -- such as Pickled Asparagus with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic; Cider-Braised Pork Loin with Apples and Onions; and Cardamom-Coffee Toffee Bars.
Mather’s poignant, reflective narrative shares encouraging advice for aspiring locavores everywhere, and combines the virtues of kitchen thrift with the pleasures of cooking -- and eating -- well.
Robin is the senior associate editor of Mother Earth News.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books and products to readers. For more than 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America's "Original Guide to Living Wisely," creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
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The Simple Art of EatingWell contains all the basics of healthy cooking — from how to stock your pantry and which kitchen tools you really need to how to choose, cook, and preserve the healthiest, freshest foods. Step-by-step techniques show you healthier ways to cook, including how to oven-fry favorite deep-fried foods like onion rings; how to make a lighter, healthier pie crust; make-at-home tacos, freezer pops, fat-free cookies; and many more.
Recipes have notes and tips on how they were made healthier — for instance, when and how to substitute whole grain for white flour or how to use canola oil in place of butter.
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In The Healthy Home, a father and son -- Dr. Myron Wentz, well-known microbiologist and founder of the USANA Corporation, and Dave Wentz, CEO of the USANA Corporation -- take readers on a tour of a specific home for a look at the surprising health risks posed by the everyday products and behaviors of a modern family. Beginning in the bedroom and ending in the garage and backyard, readers learn about the degenerative effects of toxins in the home and receive simple solutions to help minimize exposure without forgoing convenience. The Healthy Home is not a comprehensive tome on modern health hazards, nor is it a treatise on eco-conscious living. Instead, the book focuses on the most important environment -- the home -- and the problems that can most easily be lessened or eliminated. Busy parents who suspect that they should be doing more to protect their family but don't know where to start will learn about practical changes they can make in the next 15 minutes, 15 days or 15 months to create a haven for healthier living.
This groundbreaking book, by former MOTHER EARTH NEWS Publisher and Editorial Director Bryan Welch, cuts through the pessimism and denial that pervade today's discussions of sustainability and invites readers to visualize a verdant and prosperous future for humanity and all the living things that share our planet. As a practical guide, it offers a process for making our current lifestyles more sustainable and inspires us to look beyond the immediate obstacles to nurture the "destination fixation" that stimulates all of humanity's greatest achievements.
In the lives and accomplishments of farmers, gardeners, inventors and entrepreneurs, Beautiful and Abundant finds a path toward a world vision we can proudly pass on to future generations – a vision that is aesthetically beautiful, economically abundant, ethically fair and irresistibly contagious.
Humanity is at a turning point. Only one species in the universe can recognize its own impact on its habitat, so far as we know, and we are that species. In the early years of the 21st century we face the definitive human challenge – sustaining our quality of life on this miraculous, but finite sphere we call Earth.
Tragically, a lot of human energy is being squandered in conflict over short-term environmental obstacles. People debate symptoms and solutions but societies persistently fail to offer positive incentives for change. To harness the full power of human imagination and community initiative we need a positive vision for humanity's future. We need a believable collective vision for the beautiful, abundant planet where our grandchildren will live.
Read what people are saying:
"Beauty is the new black. Abundance – for all! – is our North Star. Bryan Welch is a businessman who serves beauty, a rancher who champions interdependence, and a leader who recognizes the sweet spot we're looking for is at the nexus of self-reliance and sustainability." – Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder, B Lab
"This is a book that invites us all to cut through the negativity of doomsday prophets and other 'progressive' thinkers. … Bryan Welch is a rare business leader who writes prose that is nuanced, eloquent and visionary. This luminous call to action will inspire you. … It happened to me." – Wanda Urbanska, author of The Heart of Simple Living: 7 Paths to a Better Life
About the author:
As a boy herding goats in rural New Mexico, Welch formed an intuition for the intricate and interdependent relationships among plants, animals and people. He's developed that intuition into the very model of a productive, balanced and sustainable life.
Before starting Ogden Publications (publishers of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Mother Earth Living, Utne Reader and other media brands) in 1996, Welch worked at newspapers in several states. He graduated from the University of Denver and holds a master's degree from Harvard University, where he studied media policy and management at the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School.
Welch serves on the board of directors of the MPA (Association of Magazine Media), the Social Venture Network and the Down Home Ranch Foundation. He and his wife, Carolyn, raise grass-fed cattle, sheep, goats and free-range chickens at the farm they call Rancho Cappuccino, which they also share with donkeys, dogs and the rogue mule, Zero.
The reader will find much in this third book in a trilogy of information on growing giant pumpkins. How-to-Grow World Class Giant Pumpkins, Third Edition presents the newest information on cultural methods, who’s who and records. New ideas about plant size and pruning strategies throw a whole new light on the grower with only a small area to devote to giant pumpkins. New discoveries involving the use of considerably more calcium in feeding programs, a steadily growing consensus on the use of nitrogen, the beginnings of a real effort at applying genetic theory in pollination strategies, how-to select the best seed, and the controversial subject of genetic manipulation, all required an airing-out here.
The explosion in the number of growers gathering information via the internet, either through website information, or through open forums with other growers via message boards, has become a major accelerator in the learning curve of all growers. Seed auctions, message boards, and a site devoted entirely to maintaining a database of pumpkin genetic backgrounds, all contribute to a shortening of the time it takes to succeed in this sport.
If you want to grow a world record giant pumpkin, you will find much in this book to to help you.
If your goal is 1500 pounds, then you’ve come to the right place.