A pile of tomatoes in orange, red and pale yellow.

Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook

If you never thought that a common salad ingredient and compelling investigative journalism go together, you should read this book.

If you don't know that your winter supermarket tomatoes may have been picked hard and green by horribly mistreated slaves in the USA, you should read this book.

If you ever wondered about the stories and trials of migrant workers who pick tomatoes in Florida, you should read this book.

If you ever wondered why tomatoes from the local store taste like red cardboard, you should read this book.

If you have ever wonder how many pesticide residues are on tomatoes from Florida, you should read this book.

If you want to know why the heck we are even growing tomatoes in humid wet Florida, land of 10,000 tomato diseases and sterile sandy soil, you should read this book. Currently, Florida produces 40% of USA fresh-market tomatoes.

This book covers everything from history of tomatoes and modern tomato breeding to the social issues resulting in inhumane working conditions for those toiling in the tomato fields. It is a fascinating and compelling read that will likely make you very angry.

This book was published in 2012 but much of it still rings true.

I read the original book but there is a revised third edition published in 2018 called Tomatoland, Third Edition: From Harvest of Shame to Harvest of Hope Paperback. It is updated with 4 additional chapters which discuss hopeful changes in the industry.

The original book is available at the Latah library online. Or you can purchase the paperback at online book sellers.

Warning: After reading this book you may stop eating store bought winter tomatoes and start an activist group to help people who work in the Florida tomato fields.