Politically Correct Tomato

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by YuccaFlatsRanch, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here is a classic case of appearance over substance. In Florida you can only ship Pretty Tomatoes, who cares if they don't taste good??

    FORT LONESOME, Fla., Dec. 26, 2004 — Call them fat. Call them odd looking, just don't call them tasteless.

    Joe Procacci calls his tomatoes "UglyRipes."

    "Nobody says that they don't want a beat-up tomato," Procacci says. "They want a tasty tomato."

    UglyRipes are a popular new tomato selling at premium prices at supermarkets across the country. But not for long.

    In Florida, strict marketing rules leave no room for ugly-looking tomatoes.

    "This don't meet the grade standards because of these ridges," Procacci says. "That's a perfectly good tomato. But it doesn't meet the grade standards."

    No Room for Ugliness

    Just what gets sent out of state is governed by the Florida Tomato Committee, and they demand tomatoes that are round and smooth. Taste is not a factor.

    Most of the tomatoes Americans eat in the winter come from Florida, which produces half of all the tomatoes grown in the country.

    Florida tomatoes are easy to spot. They look like Christmas tree ornaments, and that's the way the marketing board wants it to stay. They worry that the ugly ripes will give Florida tomatoes a bad name.

    "The first contact you make with any product is visual," says Reggie Brown of the Florida Tomato Committee. "There's a minimum visual quality standard that needs to be there."

    The committee says there is no way to regulate taste.

    Processing Out Flavor

    Heather McPherson, food editor of The Orlando Sentinel, says perfect-looking tomatoes or apples or grapes all have one thing in common.

    "We are processing the flavor out of our produce so that it has a sort of what we think is a magazine photo shoot appearance in the supermarket," McPherson says. "We don't want that. We want good flavor."

    Upon tasting an UglyRipe, McPherson says, "There's a from-your-grandmother's-garden kind of thing going on there."

    But until the Florida Tomato Committee changes its mind, Americans will have to settle for good looks — except in Florida, where growers are free to sell whatever consumers will buy, no matter how ugly.

    ABC News' Jeffrey Kofman originally reported this story for "World News Tonight" on Dec. 19, 2004.
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Ever eat a wax apple? Looks pretty, should taste good? :no: :no:
     

  3. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That is a good comment!

    However, so far this thread is just a waste of space........

    One would need to take action.

    For example,

    http://www.floridatomatoes.org/

    Toots how perfect Florida's tomatoes are. They appear to be part of the Board being discussed here.

    And they have a comment area......

    I absolutly hate tomatoes. For the last 10 years, I can eat them.
    I feel sorry for anyone who likes tomatoes. Those things you buy in a store are _not_ tomatoes. Not if I can eat them. I don't know what they are, a marketing ploy I guess, but certainly not tomatoes.


    --->Paul
     
  4. Your right about the tomatoes having to look perfect. This last fall my wife and I was in a Bakery & Deli business where we made fresh sandwiches that a lot of people requested tomatoes. We found out from our food man that we order supplies from that we could get what was called "Number 2 tomatoes". These are tomatoes that have spots, cracks, valleys, etc. and are rejects for grocery stores. They are only sold to resturants and institutions. They were the best tasting tomatoes around (for store bought). Since we had to order by the case and could not use a case up before they started going bad we put them out on the shelf to sell to the public. Many of our customers would ask if they were home grown and some even stated that they tasted just like home grown. And most of all, they were only about 1/3 the cost of other tomatoes. Before tomato prices started skyrocketing we could buy a 25 pound case for $12.50
     
  5. desdawg

    desdawg Well-Known Member

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    I have a hard time believing there even is a "Florida Tomato Committee". Government has really gone off the deep end. But I guess we all knew that. Aren't there wars to fight, taxes to lower, etc. Does each vegetable have it's own committee or has Florida taken up discriminative practices? Is there a radish committee? And what about fruit? I think there are too many people with waaaay too much time on their hands. I would think the Floriday taxpayers would want to find these people real jobs and get them off the dole. Especially if they are standing in the way of free enterprise.
     
  6. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Action taken. I sent my views to the FL tomato board. Who else will join me?

    PQ
     
  7. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I just sent them a note, too.
    We have a local hydroponic tomato grower who markets somelovely looking red tomatoes, and they are only shipped a mile or two from his greenhouses to the local supermarkets.
    I have heard more stories about the rapidly increasing prices of tomatoes due to the hurricanes last summer and the recent cold weather in the south. My son had talked to friends who work in a deli/coffee shop, and apparently the price that they are now paying for tomatoes to use on their sandwiches has risen so much that they aren't automatically putting tomatoes on items--one sandwich may have a dollars worth (or more) of tomatoes on it, due to price increases. (I think that a case of tomatoes is now nearly $60 and had been $12 earlier in the year.)

    Jim
     
  8. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    I've heard of the Ugly Ripe tomatoes before, how good they taste. But I can't find a seed source. Anybody know of one?
     
  9. flutemandolin

    flutemandolin mark an eight, dude!

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    I just saw a variety called "Ugly" in the Tomato Growers' Supply catalog...could that be it?
     
  10. miclew

    miclew Well-Known Member

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    I was a deputy sheriff for 10 1/2 years (before I started having babies, I have 5 children). Anyway, Fort Lonesome was part of the area I covered. The funny thing is, Fort Lonesome has maybe 20 residents :) :) :) It is a SMALL place out in the middle of nowhere (hence the name). The entire south end of Hillsborough County is very rural and mostly farm land (there are some phosphate mines). It is so funny to see Fort Lonesome's name in print because it is so small :)

    Not too far from there, 45 miles or so, over in eastern Hillsborough County (Plant City, FL) is where the grape tomato was first grown. That area of the county is famous for it's strawberries. Plant City is the "Winter Strawberry Capital of the World That is where I lived. I lived about 12 miles north of Plant City. Hillsborough County also grows tons of oranges, grapefruit, peppers, onions and squash.

    Hillsborough County is a pretty big county. Over on the west side of the county is a town you might recognize.... Tampa :)

    Ok children, that is your geography lesson for today :)

    Hugs...

    michele
     
  11. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have received a reply from the Tomato Board stating it is being falsely that they won't ship Ugly Tomatoes out of state. They say 70% of tomatoes examined pass the requirements for shipment out of state. They say lack of flavor is usually due to mishandling and that 70% of American consumers believe erroneously that tomatoes should be refridgerated.

    I wish I knew how to post their reply here but I don't sorry.....Of course I don't believe it all!

    PQ
     
  12. miclew

    miclew Well-Known Member

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    Tomatoes are very easy to grow at home and they do very well in containers so those that have limited space can enjoy fresh maters too.

    The difference between home grown maters and store bought are like night and day. If you have never had a home grown mater you won't believe how much flavor they have. There are so many fun varieties you can grow too.

    You can easily grow mater organically so you don't have to worry about pesticides.

    michele
     
  13. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    Yep, found the Ugly at tomatogrowers.com.

    Here's their description:


    Ugly #5651 (30 seeds) $2.40
    This is the same as the tomatoes that have been appearing in supermarkets during the past several years for premium prices. Plants are indeterminate, but stay a manageable size, and produce a heavy crop of 12 to 16 ounce ribbed beefsteak-shaped fruit with wonderful, old-fashioned tomato flavor. Some of their best attributes after their great flavor are earliness, productivity, outstanding plant vigor, and the ability to keep after harvest. You will want to try these at home! Indeterminate. 75 days.
     
  14. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    How can you know what the truth is? The press operates these days almost completely from the sensationalist viewpoint. Reguations, such as below, can protect buyers from being lied to but can also be used by producers to crowd out competitors and stifle innovation. I'd be curious to see an explantion of what both the producer of "Ugly Ripe tomatos" AND FLORIDA TOMATO COMMITTEE Manager Reginald L. Brown would have to say.

    Some specific facts and explanation, not more assertions.

    REGULATORY BULLETIN NO. 1
    2004 – 2005

    September 20, 2004


    HANDLING REGULATIONS

    During the period October 10 through midnight June 15, of each year, unless rescinded or amended, no person shall handle any lot of tomatoes produced in the production area for shipment outside of the regulated area unless they meet the requirements of Paragraph (a) or are exempted by Paragraphs (b) or (d).

    (a) GRADE, SIZE, CONTAINER AND INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS

    (1) GRADE Tomatoes shall be graded and meet the requirements for U.S. No. 1, U.S. Combination or U.S. No. 2 of the U.S. Standards for Grades of Fresh Tomatoes. When not more than 15 percent of tomatoes in any lot fail to meet the requirements of U.S. No. 1 grade and not more than one-third of this 15 percent (or 5 percent) are comprised of defects causing very serious damage, including not more than one percent of tomatoes which are soft or affected by decay, such tomatoes may be shipped and designated as at least 85% U.S. No. 1 grade.

    (2) SIZE

    (i) All tomatoes packed by a Registered Handler shall be at least 2-9/32 inches in diameter and be sized with proper equipment in one or more of the following ranges of diameters. Measurements of diameters shall be in accordance with the methods prescribed in §51.1859 of the U.S. Standards for Grades of Fresh Tomatoes.

    Inches
    Size Classification Min.Diameter Max.Diameter
    6x7 2- 9/32 2-19/32
    6x6 2-17/32 2-29/32
    5x6 2-25/32

    (ii) Tomatoes of designated sizes may not be commingled and each container or lid shall be marked to indicate the designated size.

    (iii) Only 6x7, 6x6 and 5x6 may be used to indicate the above listed size designations on containers of tomatoes.

    (iv) To allow for variations incident to proper sizing, not more than a total of 10 percent, by count, of the tomatoes in any lot may be smaller than the specified minimum diameter or larger than the maximum diameter.


    (3) CONTAINERS

    (i) All tomatoes packed by a Registered Handler shall be in containers of 10, 20 or 25 pounds designated net weights and the designated net weight of the contents shall not be less than the designated net weight and shall not exceed the designated weight by more than two pounds. Section 51.1863 of the U.S. Tomato Standards shall apply to all containers.

    (ii) Each container or lid shall be marked to indicate the designated net weight and must show the name and address of the Registered Handler (as defined in §966.7) in letters at least one-fourth (1/4) inch high and such containers must be packed at the Registered Handler's facilities and meet the minimum size requirements of 2-9/32 inches in diameter.

    (iii) The containers in which tomatoes are packed must be clean and bright in appearance without marks, stains, or other evidence of previous use.

    (4) INSPECTION

    Tomatoes shall be inspected and certified pursuant to the provisions of §966.60. Each Handler who applies for inspection shall register with the Committee pursuant to §966.113. Persons not certified by the Committee, as a Registered Handler shall be issued inspection certificates on shipments handled by such persons stating "Fails to meet the requirements of Marketing Order No. 966 because the handler is not a Registered Handler." Evidence of inspection must accompany truck shipments.

    (b) SPECIAL PURPOSE SHIPMENTS

    The requirements of Paragraph (a) of this section shall not be applicable to shipments of tomatoes for pickling, processing, experimental purposes, relief, charity, export or other outlets recommended by the Committee and approved by the Secretary if the Handler thereof complies with the safeguard requirements of Paragraph (c) of this section. Shipments for processing are also exempt from the assessment requirements of this part.

    (c) SAFEGUARDS

    Each Handler making special purpose shipments of tomatoes in accordance with Paragraph (b) of this section shall:

    (1) Apply to the Committee and obtain a Certificate of Privilege to make such shipments.

    (2) Prepare on forms furnished by the Committee a report in quadruplicate on such shipments authorized in Paragraph (b) of this section.

    (3) Bill or consign each shipment directly to the designated applicable receiver.

    (4) One copy of such report will be forwarded to the Committee office and two copies to the receiver for signing and returning one copy to the Committee office. Failure of the Handler or receiver to report such shipments by signing and returning the applicable report to the Committee office within ten days after shipment may be cause for cancellation of such Handler's certificate and/or receiver's eligibility to receive further shipments pursuant to such certificate. Upon cancellation of any such certificate, the Handler may appeal to the Committee for reconsideration.

    (d) EXEMPTIONS

    (1) For Types The following types of tomatoes are exempt from these regulations: Elongated types commonly referred to as pear-shaped or paste tomatoes and including but not limited to San Marzano, Red Top and Roma varieties; cerasiform type tomatoes commonly referred to as cherry tomatoes; hydroponic tomatoes; and greenhouse tomatoes. Specialty packed red ripe tomatoes, yellow-meated tomatoes, and single and two-layer place-packed tomatoes are exempt from the container net weight requirements specified in Paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section, and the requirement that each container or lid shall be marked to indicate the designated net weight as specified in Paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section, but must meet all other requirements. Producer field-packed tomatoes must meet all of the requirements of this section except: The requirement that all containers must be packed at registered handler facilities as specified in Paragraph (a)(3)(ii); the requirement that such tomatoes designated as size 6x6 must meet the maximum diameter requirement specified in Paragraph (a)(2)(i) and the labeling requirement specified in Paragraph (a)(2)(iii): Provided, that “6x6 and larger” is used to indicate the listed size designation on containers.

    (2) For Minimum Quantity For purposes of these regulations each person subject thereto may handle up to but not to exceed 50 pounds of tomatoes per day without regard to the requirements of these regulations, but this exemption shall not apply to any shipment or any portion thereof of over 50 pounds of tomatoes.

    (3) For Special Packed Tomatoes Tomatoes resorted, regraded and repacked by a Handler who has been designated as a "Certified Tomato Repacker" by the Committee are exempt from the tomato grade classifications of Paragraph (a)(1), except that the tomatoes must grade U.S. No. 2 or better; the size classifications of Paragraph (a)(2), except that the tomatoes shall be at least 2-9/32 inches in diameter; and the container weight requirements of Paragraph (a)(3), if such tomatoes comply with the inspection requirements of Paragraph (a)(4).

    (4) For Varieties Upon recommendation of the Committee, the Secretary from the provisions of Paragraph (a)(2), Size, may exempt varieties of tomatoes that are elongated or otherwise misshapen due to adverse growing conditions.

    [section deleted here because forum wanted shorter length]
    (f) ASSESSMENTS

    Handlers shall pay assessments as provided in §966.42. Assessment will be based on inspection certificates supplied to the Committee by the Federal-State Inspection Service. Failure of a Registered Handler to pay assessments in a timely manner, as defined by the Committee, may result in cancellation of the Registered Handler's certificate pursuant to §966.113, thus making that Handler ineligible to ship tomatoes outside of the regulated area.

    (g) DEFINITIONS

    Hydroponic tomatoes means tomatoes grown in solution without soil; greenhouse tomatoes means tomatoes grown indoors; producer field-packed tomatoes means tomatoes which at the time of inspection are No. 3 color or higher (according to color classification requirements in the U.S. Tomato Standards), that are picked and place packed in new containers in the field by a producer (as defined in Paragraph 966.150) and transferred to the Registered Handler's facility for final preparation for market; and specialty packed red ripe tomatoes means tomatoes which at the time of inspection are No. 5 or No. 6 color (according to color classification requirements in the U.S. Tomato Standards) with their calyx ends and stems attached and cell packed in a single layer container. A Certified Tomato Repacker as used in §§966.113 and 966.323 is defined as a repacker of tomatoes in the regulated area who has the facilities for handling, regrading, resorting, and repacking tomatoes into consumer size packages and has been certified as such by the Committee. Processing as used

    [section deleted her because forum still demanded less length]
    FLORIDA TOMATO COMMITTEE
    Reginald L. Brown, Manager
     
  15. DreamingBig

    DreamingBig Well-Known Member

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    I got the same reply from them and will post it here. I am just copying [Control C] the email and pasting [Control V] it here. I don't necessarily believe them but could care less for myself. I always grow tomatoes if nothing else! If you have a pot and 6 hours of sun you can grow a plant anywhere.

    Dear Concerned Tomato Lover:

    It has been falsely reported in the press that the Florida Tomato Committee (FTC) prohibits Procacci Brothers from shipping its UglyRipe™ tomato out of Florida. Plainly stated, FTC regulations do not prohibit the shipment of UglyRipe™ tomatoes. Procacci can and has shipped UglyRipe™ tomatoes out of Florida and we would assume continue to do so, under the minimum quality requirements established for the regulated area of Florida.

    America’s consumers are being misled. The FTC does permit the shipment of UglyRipe™ tomatoes out of the state, as well as within Florida. Past inspection data shows 70 percent of inspected UglyRipe™ tomatoes fit for shipment to customers outside the state, with the remaining 30 percent fit for shipping to customers within Florida. It is not the place of the FTC to make business decisions for Procacci as to why the company might choose not to ship UglyRipe™ tomatoes out of Florida.

    When handled properly, Florida tomatoes rank high in taste. In fact, taste tests conducted by independent research firm, Rose Research, show two out of three consumers preferring Florida tomatoes to its competitors. Florida’s tomato growers are committed to flavor research and continually invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into breeding programs focused on improving the flavor and nutritional values of Florida tomatoes. The goal is to grow a tomato with superior flavor, with just the right balance of sugars, acids and fruity/floral aromatics, and a higher level of disease-fighting lycopene.

    The real barrier to flavorful tomatoes is improper handling. Proper handling of tomatoes is absolutely necessary to maintaining flavor integrity. Refrigeration and chilling kill tomato flavor. Sometimes chilling can occur before the consumer purchases the tomato. Despite many years of educating the public to this effect, unfortunately, 77 percent of consumers continue to believe tomatoes should be kept in the refrigerator.

    Thank you for your tomato enthusiasm. We hope that you now have an informed, accurate account of activities as they relate to this product and the FTC.

    Sincerely,
    Florida Tomato Committee
     
  16. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    Challenge it in court. That regulation is illegal, IMHO. A clear violation of the Interstate Commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution. States can not make laws saying that you can sell something in your own state but not ship it across state boundaries to another state in which the product is legal. Law after law has been struck down on this basis.

    I am not a lawyer and perhaps there is some arcane piece of case law that has already unsuccessfully challenged this regulation. But it seems to me that this could very well be one of those things that is only in place because nobody has bothered to vigorously challenge it.

    The only point of the law is to limit entry to the interstate tomato market and to increase the perceived value of the product sold by those from a particular state whose product passes muster. I have a whole lot of trouble imagining the Supreme Court upholding that. There is no issue of consumer protection, no health concern involved. The spirit, letter and intent of the law is a clear and deliberate subversion of Interstate Commerce. You've got a good case here. Sell your tomatos and get a lawyer.

    -Jack
     
  17. reluctantpatriot

    reluctantpatriot I am good without god.

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    The "perfect" tomatos are only perfect in apperance and lack flavor that a homegrown tomato has, regardless of how many "experts" say otherwise. Perhaps the Florida commercial tomatos have more flavor than any other domestic commercial tomato, I will allow that. I haven't eaten many commercial tomatos so I have no taste test to go by.

    However, it seems to me that the Florida tomato group is more about putting out a visually uniform product rather than a nutritious or flavorful product. There are no specifications about either of those two qualities, only the visual ones.

    Honestly, if the Florida group doesn't want ugly tomatos sold outside of their state, they are blind. Other states have farmers with roadside stands and farmers markets where really ugly, but super flavorful, tomatos are sold. I prefer flavor.

    Regarding storage of tomatos, all the tomato boxes my mother received for her restaurant said on the outside to store the tomatos in a cooler at a range of temperature for best quality. The health inspector demanded that all food either be dry food or mixes, which can be room temperature, cooked food held at at least 160 degrees in a steam table until served or stored in a cooler or freezer. Fresh vegetables were required to be stored in the cooler, even onions and potatos. If tomatos and other vegetables are not to be stored under refrigeration, then why do the boxes say so and why does the Missouri Health Department require it to be done? This contradicts what the Florida tomato group says. Both cannot be correct.
     
  18. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

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    Tomatoes have been around a lot longer than coolers-coolers may make them last longer, but with less flavor........no danger really from not cooling them if you keep it sanitary......I haven't died yet from un-cooled tomatoe poisoning! ;)
     
  19. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I just got a reply to the note that I sent to the Florida Tomato board, and they claim that the "ugly" tomato uproar is all a farce, that they don't have rules against selling "ugly" tomatoes and shipping them out of state.
    So is this just a publicity scam for the "ugly" tomatoes? Hard to tell without actually questioning the individuals involved and reading the actual organization regulations.
    But I always try to get food that is produced closer to home anyway, but I would buy Floriday tomatoes instead of Mexican, I think.

    Jim
     
  20. COUNTRY WISHES

    COUNTRY WISHES Well-Known Member

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    I have always been taught that tomatoes should be stored in a brown paper bag in cool, dry place. Not in the refridgerator. The best tomatoes I have had come from the backyard gardens of Italian-Americans in the suburbs and countryside of New Jersey. They seem to have the right touch for it. Tomatoes are almost always big,juicy and flavorful. They are also usually lopsided and funny looking. Store bought doesn't come close. Not even when the Jersey Fresh is sold in season, although they are better than the others sold in stores.