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United Natural Foods, Inc. Message Board

  • MaypoMan MaypoMan Aug 20, 2009 10:26 AM Flag

    Tomatoes symptomatic of broken food system.


    I saw it in extreme form on a trip last spring to Immokalee, Florida—source of 90 percent of the winter tomatoes grown in the United States. As I and many others have pointed out, workers are abused there as a matter of course.

    But the growing conditions are also quite startling. When you look down in an Immokalee tomato field, what you see is sand—there’s no evident organic matter in the growing medium (the word “soil” doesn’t quite apply here). To prepare for tomato growing, you start by sterilizing the ground with an extremely toxic pesticide—and in the process wipe out any beneficial microbes that might be lingering there. Then you inject the doses of NPK to maximize output, and you’re ready to go. (You may need more insecticide sprayings as the season wears on.)

    More than in any other place I’ve seen, plants there live on a diet equivalent to sugar water, oat fiber, and vitamin pills. Can there be any real wonder that the resulting tomatoes are so pathetically lacking in flavor? And do people still doubt that they may be less healthful as well?

    Indeed, there’s strong evidence that the nutritional value of industrially grown vegetable crops has declined significantly since 1950.

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    • If a real tomato was produced (thinner walls and larger seed cavity with flavor) picked at a riper color and shipped to UNFI they would ask for protection" ( against credits), ship it on a cold truck , and then ask every one else in the supply chain to pay for their mistakes... oh but "the street" may like that. Snap out of it.. this is a consumer driven, supply chain controlled market... the growers CAN produce real tomatoes that people want to eat. It just is the reality that corporate buyers and underpaid chain and natural food receivers would not know how to handle them as it takes somebody that gives a s^&*t to work hard to handle properly.

    • I grow tomatoes in my back-yard, and don’t use fertilizer either because there is plenty of organic materials from my dogs who use the yard for their needs. I use water hose to spread it around so the microbes can break-down the stuff into organics and supply my garden of tomatoes with the nutrients needed. My friends say that my tomatoes are delicious, but I don't tell them how we grown them. My tomatoes are genuine organic.

      I heard that commercially grown organic tomatoes are grown without fertilizer too. I never saw commercially grown organic fields with with lots of dogs let loose in the fields. I wonder if the workers and field hands let loose in the fields have any thing to do with how commercially organic tomatoes are grown since fertilizer isn’t used.

    • I haven't bought a tomato from a supermarket in YEARS. Only buy them when they are in season from locals. Winter tomatoes have the texture of styrofoam. I can't understand why anyone buys these facimiles. Apparently there is demand for these "tomatoes" and hence the suppy continues.

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