Saturday, November 27, 2004

We're not looking for tomatoes with good taste... 

... we're looking for tomatoes that taste good!

Who knew? The Feds are in cahoots with Big Food to force tomatoes that taste like cardboard down your throats:

The rule is this: No tomato destined for sale outside Florida shall cross the Suwannee River unless it is the right shape.

That's the way it's been since 1955, when a federal marketing order established the standards for what a Florida tomato is all about.

Joe Procacci says that rule leaves his company out of luck.

Procacci is the chief executive officer of Philadelphia-based Procacci Brothers Sales Corp., which grows the UglyRipe, a flavorful but misshapen tomato sometimes described in the industry as "cat-faced."

He contends the other Florida growers are jealous of the UglyRipe's success, and want to keep it from competing with their tomatoes out of state.

"This tomato doesn't compete with that cardboard-tasting tomato. It competes with the greenhouse tomatoes and other premium-tasting tomatoes," Procacci said. "The Florida round tomatoes are excellent for quick-service restaurants like McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King."
(via Palm Beach Post)

Right. Fast-food tomatoes can taste like cardboard. That's OK.

Now, I'm not one to idealize Florida growers, which the UglyRipe guys definitely are. And I'd be the last one to call any vegetable to save the Constitution. Or claim that an army of foodies can't be beaten.

But this is still an important story.

Eating is primal; it's an act that makes and keeps us human (loaves and fishes, eh? Though the "fish" was actually the Galilean equivalent of Nuoc mam). So, if the corporations control the food we put into our mouths, they control a spectrum of our humanity. But food doesn't taste good because corporations made it taste good; food tastes good because we humans co-evolved with the earth and the things that grow in the earth. So, even if the UglyRipe is a CamelCased corporate trademark, we can still strike a small blow for humanity by choosing to eat a tomato that doesn't have the taste and texture of cardboard. Because the next step is buying seasonal fresh vegetables at the farmers market.

That would be the farmers market at the Reading Terminal or in your own town square. Now, I agree that when Democrats buy into the Red/Blue trope they guarantee their collective failure (See upyernoz at Atrios). (Not to say that millionaire consultants and pundits can't use the trope for their personal success.) The country is obviously divided, but not in such a simple, binary way. However, one of the obvious and unhealthy divisions, which the purple maps show, is between the city and the country. I see patronizing farmers markets—because their vegetables taste good, and their meat isn't laden with poisons—as one small way for me, a city dweller, to help out the country.

Oh, the Slow Food movement is one networking opportunity for Democrats. Though I insist that Xan's idea of joining the NRA is brilliant.

Readers, thoughts? Are there better ways for city dwellers to help the country? Is the very notion of helping the country patronizing?

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
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