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The Debate Over "Tomatoland"

In winter, Florida provides virtually all of the fresh tomatoes in the U.S. But it's come at a cost to workers and consumers, according to a new book “Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit.”

The cost paid by many farm workers, according to one federal prosecutor, was being treated as if a slave. The cost to consumers has been a tomato that doesn’t bruise but many believe has lost all taste.

On Florida Matters, WUSF’s Bobbie O’Brien talks with author Barry Estabrook, who was inspired to write the book after watching hard, green tomatoes bounce out of a large truck headed to a packing plant as he drove down I-75 in South Florida.

But there's another side to the story. Growers and researchers say "Tomatoland" exaggerates the industry's problems.

WUSF's Carson Cooper also speaks with former tomato grower Jay Taylor, farmworker advocate Jordan Buckley, and UF tomato researcher Jack Rechcigl.

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