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Will Allen is an organic farming visionary. A true activist, entrepreneur and expert, he understands the complexities of farming firsthand and the impact that commercialization has had. In the early 19th century, as the American population grew rapidly, demands on crop output increased. Seeing an opportunity to play upon fears from market demand, chemical companies declared war on the vile, profit-sucking, output-wrecking, archnemesis of the average American farmer: bugs. With precision, pesticide manufacturers delivered a "shock and awe" media campaign that can only be compared to the current blitzkrieg from today's pharmaceutical companies. Bugs were the threat to the American dream - and there was a cure available to every farmer available in spray, granule, dust or systemic form that could be applied to your crops. Will Allen's War on Bugs reveals how advertisers, editors, scientists, large-scale farmers, government agencies and even Dr. Seuss colluded to convince farmers to use deadly chemicals, hormones and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to pad their wallets and control the American farm enterprise. Utilizing dozens of original advertisements and promotions to illustrate the story, Allen details how consumers and activists have struggled against toxic food. Echoing the warnings of seminal works on the topic such as The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs by Arthur Kallet and F.J. Schlink, and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, The War on Bugs shouts that the time to stop poisoning our food, water, air and ourselves is now!
In Tomatoes, a Savor the South cookbook, Miriam Rubin gives this staple of Southern gardens the passionate portrait it deserves. She explores the tomato's rich history in Southern culture while inspiring home cooks to fully enjoy these summer fruits in all their glorious variety. Rubin, a prominent food writer and tomato connoisseur, provides 50 vibrant recipes as well as wisdom about how to choose tomatoes and which tomato is right for which dish. Tomatoes includes recipes that celebrate the down-home, inventive and contemporary, such as Stand-over-the-Sink Tomato Sandwiches, Spiced Green Tomato Crumb Cake, Green Tomato and Pork Tenderloin Biscuit Pie, and Tomato and Golden Raisin Chutney. Rubin also offers useful cooking tips; lively lessons on history, cultivation and preserving; and variations for year-round enjoyment of the tomato.
In today's downturned economy, one sector is trending sharply up: backyard vegetable gardening. Americans are staying closer to home, literally tending to their gardens by the millions. And they're reaching out for help and advice. Doug Oster, popular radio talk show gardening expert (and newspaper garden and food columnist), gets more questions about tomatoes than any other vegetable. No. 2 is garlic, with basil close behind. It's time for a book about these favorites of the American kitchen, created for beginners and old-timers alike. With color photos throughout, this book is a balance of easy-to-use organic gardening tips, a little horticultural history, serious and funny cautionary gardening tales … and 30 simply delicious recipes (the gastronomic payoff). No matter if a garden is a loft balcony or a backyard in the 'burbs, Oster leads his readers step by step with his trademark "how I do it" humor and Julia Child honesty … with a bonus prize of all those recipes as a reward for readers' labors.
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Supermarket produce sections bulging with a year-round supply of perfectly round, bright red-orange tomatoes have become all but a national birthright. But in Tomatoland, which is based on his James Beard Award-winning article, "The Price of Tomatoes," investigative food journalist Barry Estabrook reveals the huge human and environmental cost of the $5 billion fresh tomato industry. Fields are sprayed with more than 100 different herbicides and pesticides. Tomatoes are picked hard and green and artificially gassed until their skins acquire a marketable hue. Modern plant breeding has tripled yields, but has also produced fruits with dramatically reduced amounts of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C, and tomatoes that have 14 times more sodium than the tomatoes our parents enjoyed. The relentless drive for low costs has fostered a thriving modern-day slave trade in the United States. How have we come to this point?
Estabrook traces the supermarket tomato from its birthplace in the deserts of Peru to the impoverished town of Immokalee, Fla., aka the tomato capital of the United States. He visits the laboratories of seedsmen trying to develop varieties that can withstand the rigors of agribusiness and still taste like a garden tomato, and then moves on to commercial growers who operate on tens of thousands of acres, and eventually to a hillside field in Pennsylvania, where he meets an obsessed farmer who produces delectable tomatoes for the nation's top restaurants.
Throughout Tomatoland, Estabrook presents a who's who cast of characters in the tomato industry: the avuncular octogenarian whose conglomerate grows one out of every eight tomatoes eaten in the United States; the ex-Marine who heads the group that dictates the size, color and shape of every tomato shipped out of Florida; the U.S. attorney who has doggedly prosecuted human traffickers for the past decade; and the Guatemalan peasant who came north to earn money for his parents' medical bills and found himself enslaved for two years.
Tomatoland reads like a suspenseful whodunit as well as an exposé of today's agribusiness systems and the price we pay as a society when we take taste and thought out of our food purchases.