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The high cost of tomatoes

 

Source: Science Friday – August 26th 2011

I love tomatoes. They are a seasonal treat I grow in my garden. At the peak of the growing season we were getting 50+ per week from our garden.

Key word: Seasonal.

Americans have no concept of seasonal food. We want what we want 12 months per year in complete denial of natural growth cycles. In other words, if you want a tomato on your salad to start your annual New Years diet, you just go to the grocery store and get it.

Here’s the thing: Tomatoes don’t grow naturally that time of year. There are places in the world where tomatoes grow well during a season. But in the middle of the winter your typical beaf steak tomato doesn’t grow anywhere in North America. At least not naturally.

So why can I buy them year-round? 

Supply and demand has a dark side. As the audio from the August 26th version of Science Friday documents, those low taste, high cost winter tomatoes you buy at the supermarket come at a very high cost.

  • About 120 chemicals are needed to make those tomatoes grow in Florida.
  • 8x’s the pesticides are needed for Florida winter tomatoes that aren’t needed for ones grown in California.
  • Many are hand picked and cultivated by modern-day slaves…. in Florida. (More than 1200 cases of such have been documented in recent years.)
  • They are picked when they are completely unripe and bright green. Then they are gased to turn them bright red, even though they aren’t ripe.
  • The reason your store bought tomatoes have no flavor is that they aren’t raised in soil, they are raised in sand. (No natural nutrients, sorry)

What’s the point?

If you knew that you were buying something produced by modern-day slavery in your own country, would you still buy it if it were a good deal?

My advice? Next time you sit down to eat something or make a meal ask yourself… where did this food come from? What were the farmers who produced it paid? And was this food made under conditions that honor God?

You might not want to know. But the reality is that there is an entire industry out there who doesn’t want you to think about where your food comes from, they just want to get rich off of your ignorance.

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3 Responses to The high cost of tomatoes

  1. Matt Steen September 2, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    The book Tomatoland will make you never want to eat another store bought tomato again. I got through four chapters before I had to stop reading… and we are never, ever, buying off season or supermarket tomatoes again.

  2. Jesse Blasdel September 2, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    We recently switched to all fair trade chocolate for our house because of the horrors of child slavery in the production of almost all chocolate in stores.

  3. Johnny Carson September 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Darn it! After you encouraged us to “Sponsor a local grant for small businesses in your community to offset the cost of hiring part-time help between the ages of 16-24″ on August 26, I cut a nice big check to the local tomato baron. He said “why thank you! We will hire more workers than you can imagine.” And he said the word “hire” with finger quotes. I got played!

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