Friday, September 2, 2011


Who doesn’t wait longingly for the first native tomato?
It’s the highlight of the summer for me……and you thought it was the sunshine and heat! ha-ha
But heat tomatoes do need so I won’t complain.

more tomatoes

Last week when we were getting ready for the storm I was listening to the radio.
Science Friday was on. One of my favorite programs.
Do you listen to it?
The guest was Barry Estabrook who just wrote a book
called Tomatoland.
The interview is below
I could go into everything they talked about but I’d rather have you listen to the interview.
Unfortunately it is 21 minutes long so I found a shorter one for you from
All Things Considered
(I couldn’t embed it like the others so just hit the HERE part)
Fresh Air with Terry Gross’
Now if I could just get my internet to come back on. Uggghhhh
Using Live Writer to get some of the post done…..don’t need to be online.

I will warn you that this is not a “pretty” story about tomato recipes or how
to grow a better tomato in your garden but where tomatoes come from
out of season.
I never buy tomatoes in the winter but I may get a slice on a sandwich if I get something
from a restaurant.
It may seem insignificant ( a couple of little slice) but it will give me pause and have me saying
No Tomato please …..(unless you know where it comes from…
and most likely they won’t.)

I added this text from the Science Friday interview that I didn’t want you to miss.
This is the part I found the most disturbing.

FLATOW: Wow, and you outline in your book something I have never heard since I watched "The Grapes of Wrath" on television recently, that there are  foreign workers who are brought in and they are made to be virtual slaves to pick these tomatoes.
ESTABROOK: I'm going to have to take a little bit of an issue with you. Virtual is not a qualifier I would use. Let me run down a couple of quick details: locked up, shackled in chains at night, locked in the back of produce trucks at night so that they're handy to be delivered to the fields in the morning, bought and sold and negotiated for almost at auction.
FLATOW: Tell the story of the Guatemalan worker as an example.
ESTABROOK: All right. He was a guy who came up here from Guatemala. His folks in Guatemala were both sick. The family had no money. So he took the usual route, came across the border, found his way to this town of Immokalee in southwestern Florida, it's sort of tomato capital during the wintertime.
And he was out of work and broke and sort of waiting for something to come along and was sitting on a bench with a few other guys, and this fellow pulls up in a pickup truck and he says: Anyone want work? The Guatemalan fellow said I do. And the guy said great, come on aboard. I pay twice the going rate per bucket of tomatoes. If you don't have a place to stay, we will happily put you up at our place.
My mom cooks for our crew. She charges you a bit of money, but she'll cook for you. You know, he thought: wow. He pretty soon realized that, you know,
he was put in the back of a produce truck. That was his room and board, and he got charged $50 a week. The food was atrocious, often just dry tortillas. That was $50 a week.
Everything came with an exorbitant imaginary price tag. To stand under a cold hose at the end of a day's work was $5, and lo and behold, he found that no matter how hard he worked, he kept falling further and further behind, and he saw what - if people didn't work, they were beaten. Some were hospitalized.
They were told that they were now property of this crew leader and his cohorts, and for two and a half years this particular guy worked as a slave. Occasionally they'd give him a $20 bill to, you know, keep his hopes up, but there was no regular pay, and he couldn't leave. And he had no choice of when he worked.
FLATOW: What do you mean he couldn't leave?
ESTABROOK: Well, as he pointed out, one of his crew finally just couldn't take it anymore and ran away, and one of the crew boss guys chased him in the pickup truck and came back an hour or so later, and the guy was beaten to the point where he was unrecognizable and had to be dropped off at the hospital, and it was - he was permanently injured. He survived but permanently injured. And the crew boss said: You want to try to run away from me? Take a look.
FLATOW: Is this still going on?
ESTABROOK: Sadly, it's still going on. This is not an isolated case. There have been more than 1,200 people freed from slavery rings in Florida agriculture in the last 10 or 15 years. Off the record an official told me recently that there's two cases currently under investigation. The problem is they're very, very hard cases to prosecute. So what you're seeing is the tip of a really ugly iceberg.

I want to say that there have been some successful cases that have come to trial
but this is not the end of slavery in America.
Sadly I have no answers to this problem but by bringing this to light maybe
changes will occur faster.
You can start by
shopping for your produce locally and at farm markets.
Buy only produce that is in season.

As you may have heard from the audio Whole Foods is
the only supermarket that has signed to the fair food agreement paying the workers
a penny more per pound making it twice what they get paid now.
( doesn’t seem like a big deal but the difference between making $40 –$50 a day to $70- $80 a day)

Project Genesis-BL

Linking up to Project Genesis.
Please visit Suzan for more on how we can improve our planet and it’s inhabitants.

and thanks again for your love and support and emails from my last couple of posts.
I wanted to spend some time tonight responding and visiting
but we are going to a good friends wake…..
and I'm running late.....
so I will catch up as soon as possible.



Annesphamily said...

The world is full of hatred and it appears to lean toward all the rich and the super rich! All I know is one day the Lord will judge all. I would never want to be in the shoes of someone so hateful! We live in a sad society and it seems the only headway we will never make is in our resting place with the Lord!
My daughter just got home from work. Works in a fast food joint, paying her own way to college. She hurt her finger. No work comp, nothing. Sent her home. I guess the boss forgot my hubby works at a major law firm. If she need medical attention for that finger I hope their work comp ins. is paid in full! I make the same wage I made in 1999. 24 cents a year(when I broke down my raises after 9 years) is all I am worth to the boss. Yet his wife bought their daughters $800 beaded swimsuits! Disgusting!

oldgreymare said...

I hope everyone takes the time to listen and read about this.
We all love our pretty stuff and blog land is full of the pretty, but I still hope that we bloggers are much more than just that. We women are the caregivers on this planet and we have this magnificent forum to educate each other about important matters.

Our children depend on our staying informed and proactive when it comes to this planet, so I humbly thank you and Theresa for participating in PG.
I am blessed to have you in my life.


Bleudelavande said...

Hi Carole, tank you for this important post, I hope me too that many bloggers take the time to read about this!!!!
Have a nice weekend, big big hugs.

Karen said...

Hi Carole - hope you fared well with Irene, she was a stinker!!....

Razmataz said...


Dorthe said...

Oh my Carole, this is awful, I almost could not believe what you wrote here, I mean how can that go on in a land of justice? how can those men really, treat others,like that, without being punished and closed down on their business?-We get so many things -(greens) from Florida-well I don`t think I will ever eat tomatoes from there anymore-
Thankyou Carole for bringing this up, here-
It needs to be told to the world.

Denise said...

It's pretty amazing what goes on out there. I tend to be so naive. I have to say though, I have learned over the years to be wary. Too bad, huh that we must live this way. How do some people sleep at night? Hope you figure out your foyer. I had to lay everything out on the floor and it still is a work in progress

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I agree that awareness of a problem is the first step in improvement. It's amazing, in a despicable way, that this is still going on in our society. What some people can and will do to other human beings for the sake of a dollar, in the name of religion, power or control is and always will be very sad. I'm thankful that there are just as many people (I like to think even more) spreading love instead of hate because they realize and are teaching others that there is enough to go around and there is no need to hurt others. Hope all is well for you and your family in your part of CT. We got our power back Saturday morning and have been extra busy since. I saw your comment on my blog and you are correct, it's sad but true that Capriland herb farm is no more, lots of happy memories of that place. I have a few of her books, one of them was signed by her just before she passed away. What an amazing woman.

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Carole,

Great post and thanks for sharing.
We do need to be aware as to where and how our food comes from and supporting the Fair trade organizations
Glad that you have the power back on and must have been an awful time.

Happy week

Julia - "Vintage with Laces" said...

This is really awful and another dark chapter within the food industry. That's also a reason I would love to have a garden. Besides having beautiful flowers, I would know where the veggies come from.
Have a lovely Tuesday, dear Carole!
Hugs to you,

Anonymous said...

Slavery rings in Florida? I had no idea. Thank you for sharing, Carole.

And thank you for your kind words over at my little blog.


trash talk said...

Carole, I'm sitting here with my mouth hanging open. I'm sixty years old and didn't have a clue anything like this was happening out my back door. I'm ashamed and embarrassed to be so naive. I will be buying my produce from small farmers, but I feel like there is something more I can do as this alone won't stop the abuse. It's saddening to think that the more things change...the more they stay the same and it needs to

valutahandel said...

This is really awful and another dark chapter within the food industry. That's also a reason I would wonder to have a garden. Besides having beautiful flowers.