Dirty Secrets of Supermarket Tomatoes

To-may-to, to-mah-to ... fruit, vegetable - whatever you call it, one thing's for sure: people love it. But if you have only tasted tomatos bought from the supermarket shelves, you're missing out on flavor.

Barry Estabrook of Politics of the Plate blog has the inside story of the dirty little secrets of supermarket tomato over at NPR:

... the tomatoes you see in those supermarkets have been bred for high yields and durability, not flavor. "As a farmer once said — an honest farmer — 'I don't get paid a cent for flavor,'" Estabrook says.

There's an even darker side to the modern commercial tomato, too, he says. Up until recently, workers on many of Florida's vast industrial tomato farms were basically slaves. "People being bought and sold like animals," Estabrook says. "People being shackled in chains. People being beaten for either not working hard enough, fast enough, or being too weak or sick to work. People actually being shot and killed for trying to escape. That sounds like 1850's slavery to me, and that, in fact, is going on, or has gone on."

Estabrook adds that there have been seven successful slavery prosecutions in Florida in the past 15 years.

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/09/137623954/the-troubled-history-of-the-supermarket-tomato?ft=1&f=100 (Photo: Robert Browman)

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My solution? Grow your own tomatoes. It's cheap and easy. If you don't have a yard, borrow a friend's. Use 5-gallon plastic buckets if you have to. You will never go back to store bought tomatoes again.
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