With knowledge comes responsibility. I’ve been known to tout the old adage, “ignorance is bliss” but in reality I really should proclaim that my own ignorance is often a reflection of laziness. Once you’ve gained knowledge is hard to sit comfortably without action.

Today I’m acting out against slavery. Along with The Giving Table, International Justice Mission and 50 other bloggers across the Internet we’re shedding light on the horrific slavery that still exists within the U.S. tomato industry. In partnership with The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and The Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC), IJM is removing our ignorance by revealing the mis-treatment of thousands of migrant workers (including children) who earn less than $0.01 per pound they pick.

You should know that not all tomatoes are treated equal and not all are grown under these circumstances. Slave-free tomatoes can be purchased as places such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and from many local farms. Not only are tomatoes purchased from these places guaranteed to be grown under much better circumstances – without abuse – they taste much better.

With the knowledge of this tragic mis-treatment comes responsibility. There is much you and I can do to change these conditions. In fact, I have no doubt that collectively we can completely abolish slavery in the tomato industry. First of all you can purchase all your tomatoes from places that buy slave-free tomatoes. As I mentioned above these places include Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Farmers Markets and direct from the farms. Your purchase is power. Secondly, send a letter to the markets who have not yet adopted the policy to buy slave-free tomatoes.  The form in the link provided makes it very simple. Just add your name and send. These markets depend on you to survive so don’t underestimate your power in making this change a reality. Thirdly, inform others of these conditions. No one should be treated in this manner and with this knowledge it’s our responsibility to shine light onto the darkness of ignorance.


There are few things more beautiful than a tomato. Ragged and jewel toned, tight skinned and fragrant with a scent that to me is the perfume of gardening. In fact I wish it came bottled so I could wear it year round. But nothing makes these nearly perfect orbs more beautiful than knowing that no person was treated improperly in the process of getting to my table.



Tomato Toast with Basil Butter // Tomatoes with Blue Cheese

Tomato Toast with Basil Butter

With a beautifully grown tomato I argue that very little should be added to it. A thick slice with salt is the perfect way to enjoy a sun-ripened tomato. This recipe has only a few more ingredients and has quickly become my favorite late-summer lunch.

This butter is summer’s condiment. On grilled corn it’s magic. 


1 Tablespoon chopped basil

4 Tablespoons butter, softened

1 piece of rustic bread, toasted

3 slices of thick-cut, slave-free tomatoes

sea salt


In a small bowl combine the basil and butter. Spread a bit on the warm toast. Top with tomatoes then sprinkle with salt.


Tomatoes and Avocado with Blue Cheese dressing

inspired by Ina Garten

With so few ingredients use the best you can afford. I used Rogue River’s Flora Nelle and I’d do it again. Pungent without smacking you in the face. This salad has no need for lettuce. Simple and stunning.


Blue Cheese Dressing

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Combine everything in a bowl and stir to combine keeping large chunks of blue cheese intact.

Arrange thick cut slices of slave-free tomatoes and avocados onto a platter. Generously top with blue cheese dressing. Finish with fresh ground pepper.

Serve immediately.

Leftover dressing can be refrigerated for one week.

53 Responses to “portrait of a tomato”

Post a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>