We all know that Florida is famous for its oranges. But if it’s up to Barry Estabrook, the Florida tomato will soon upstage its sister. His new book, Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit, exposes some juicy facts about how these red rivals are grown and who’s doing the pickin’. According to the book, children as young as 12 do farm work and workers are paid by the number of containers of fruit they pick, a system that often leaves them with less than the minimum wage.
Estabrook writes, “This might explain why the life expectancy of a migrant worker in the United States is only 49 years … migrant workers typically make between $10,000 and $12,000 a year, a figure that is distorted because it includes the higher wages paid to field supervisors.”
To make matters worse, pesticides abound in the sandy soil their grown in, and farm workers are exposed and often unprotected. Give me one of those tomatoes and let me throw it at the culprits here. Shame on you.