The Commerce Department and Mexican tomato growers initialed a new agreement that, beginning on Sept. 19, will control U.S. imports of roughly $2 billion a year worth of fresh tomatoes from Mexico, said officials from both nations on Wednesday.
Effective May 7, the United States will withdraw from a "suspension agreement" with Mexico over imports of fresh tomatoes so Washington can consider complaints of tomato dumping, said the Commerce Department on Thursday. The Florida Tomato Exchange asked the Trump administration last November to resume an investigation of whether tomatoes were being sold at less than fair value.
The organizer and human-rights activist, Greg Asbed, co-founded the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, (CIW) which has worked with major retailers and food companies to guarantee better pay and treatment for farmworkers through the coalition’s Fair Food Program. Asbed recently won one of the 24 MacArthur 'genius' grants, worth $625,000, for his leadership. As he told The New York Times in a phone interview, he plans to turn over all of that money to the coalition.
The MacArthur Foundation awarded one of its $625,000 "genius grants" to Greg Asbed, one of three co-founders of the Coalition for Immokalee Workers (CIW). It said Asbed "is a human rights strategist developing a new model — worker-driven social responsibility — for improving conditions for low-wage workers within the 21st Century labor market."
Danielle Marvit, who could fairly be called the tomato maven of Pittsburgh, didn’t hesitate when asked to list her favorites among the dozens of tomato varieties sold as seedlings by Garden Dreams, an urban farm set between vacant Victorian-era houses in Wilkinsburg, Pa.
The supermarket tomato, bred to resist bruising, could gain improved flavor thanks to Chinese and U.S. scientists who found a genetic roadmap to the genes that determine the taste of tomatoes, says the Wall Street Journal. Tomatoes are not native to China but the Asian nation has been the world’s largest grower of them since 1995.
To mark its 250th anniversary, Rutgers introduced for gardeners this season "a re-invented version of a tomato variety from 1934 that reigned unchallenged for decades," says the New York Times. The new variety, dubbed Rutgers 250, is a hit - the university is sold out of the 5,000 packets of seeds and home gardeners snapped up 1,200 seedlings in two hours.
A year after "Ketchup 'n' Fries" aka TomTato - a plant that produces tomatoes and potatoes - became available to gardeners in the United States and Europe, the same seed and plant company in England is offering "Egg and Chips," "after a favorite English dish of fried eggs and French fries. Although in this case, the eggs are eggplants," says Modern Farmer. "The chips part is dead on, since the plant produces potatoes as well."
Harvest of fresh-market and processing tomatoes is under way in northern California with summer conditions favoring a good crop for growers who have access to enough water, says Capital Press, citing interviews with farmers.
Ahold USA, the parent company of grocery chains that include Giant and Stop and Shop, joined the Fair Food Program of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The program's goal is to improve the conditions for farmworkers in Florida.
The mechanical tomato harvester, developed at UC-Davis, ranks as "a genuine breakthrough in the way that scientists thought about agricultural development," writes Ildi Carlisle-Cummins at Civil Eats.
"It's like a science project," says Alice Doyle, of appropriately named SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables, in a story at NPR's blog The Salt about the Ketchup 'n' Fries plant that yields both cherry tomatoes and potatoes.
Growers in California harvested a record crop of tomatoes for processing, the thick-skinned varieties used in making soup and pasta sauces, says Bloomberg.
Three years after winning a pay increase of 1 cent per lb, tomato workers in Florida are in dramatically improved conditions, says the New York Times in a story the describes better accounting of pay and better treatment in the fields.
"The drought in California affects the whole country's fruits, veggies and nuts," says Mother Jones magazine in presenting a series of maps that show how the severe drought affects...