Tomatoland, by Barry Estabrook, provides valuable insight into where your tomatoes come from.

Florida accounts for one-third of the tomatoes grown in the United States and almost all of the “fresh-market, field-grown tomatoes” raised in the U.S. during the winter season. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $5 billion worth of tomatoes were bought by Americans in 2009. You may be surprised to discover that tomatoes are not native to Florida, and in fact, the plants we consider tomatoes, were derived from a variety of wild strains in coastal deserts of South America.

I have found the most interesting part of Tomatoland to be about the workers of the field. The tomato employees work in condition dangerous to their health and well-being, due to the chemicals applied to the plants and the lack of training and awareness. It is an amazing story about modern industrial agriculture that I recommend to even non-tomato lovers.

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