Feds Protect Us from “Older Tasty Tomato Varieties”

(p. C3) Historically, when a farmer has learned to grow a tasty variety, that farmer has actually been scorned and prevented from shipping it.

“Regulations actually prohibit growers in the southern part of Florida from exporting many of the older tasty tomato varieties because their coloration and shape don’t conform to what the all-powerful Florida Tomato Committee says a tomato should look like,” Mr. Estabrook writes.

For the full review, see:
DWIGHT GARNER. “BOOKS OF THE TIMES; That Perfect Florida Tomato, Cultivated for Bland Uniformity.” The New York Times (Weds., July 6, 2011): C3.
(Note: the online version of the review is dated July 5, 2011.)

The web site of the Florida Tomato Committee describes its Federal mandate:

The Florida Tomato Committee is a Federal Marketing Order that was established pursuant to Federal Marketing Agreement and Order No. 966 as amended regulating the handling of tomatoes and has authority over the tomatoes grown in Florida’s production area comprising the counties of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Osceola, Brevard and all counties situated south. It affects tomatoes that are shipped outside the regulated area, which includes that portion of the state of Florida situated east of the Suwanee River and south of the Georgia border.

The Committee funds research and development projects and marketing promotions that focus on maximizing Florida tomato movement, including consumer and marketing research and customized marketing programs.

Florida Tomatoes … quality you can trust. Each Florida field-grown tomato shipped out of Florida is regulated by a Federal Marketing Order that controls grade, size, quality and maturity. The standards are the toughest in the world and ensure that Florida tomatoes are the best you can buy.

(Note: ellipsis in original.)

The book under review is:
Estabrook, Barry. Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011.

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