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Barry Estabrook's Posts

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The indignity of industrial tomatoes

The following is an excerpt from Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. This story originally appeared on Gilt Taste. My obituary's headline would have read "Food writer killed by flying tomato." On a visit to my parents in Naples, Fla., I was driving I-75 when I came up behind one of those gravel trucks that seem to be everywhere in southwest Florida's rush to convert pine woods and cypress stands into gated communities and shopping malls. As I drew closer, I saw that the tractor trailer was heavy with what seemed to be green apples. When …

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E-I-E-I-Oh no: Decades of antibiotics in farm animals lead to deadly superbugs

When cows kill. This article was syndicated with permission from OnEarth. Stuart Levy once kept a flock of chickens on a farm in the rolling countryside west of Boston. No ordinary farmer, Levy is a professor of molecular biology and microbiology and of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. This was decades ago, and his chickens were taking part in a never-before-conducted study. Half the birds received feed laced with a low dose of antibiotics, which U.S. farmers routinely administer to healthy livestock -- not to cure illness, but merely to increase the animals' rates of growth. The other half of Levy's …

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Fracking with our food: how gas drilling affects farming

Photo: Gilt Taste This story originally appeared on Gilt Taste. There's a stunning moment in the Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland, where a man touches a match to his running faucet -- to have it explode in a ball of fire. This is what hydraulic fracturing, a process of drilling for natural gas known as "fracking," is doing to many drinking water supplies across the country. But the other side of fracking -- what it might do to the food eaten by people living hundreds of miles from the nearest gas well -- has received little attention. Unlike many in agriculture, …