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Ripe: The Search for the Perfect Tomato [Paperback]

Arthur Allen

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Food Book I've Read March 3 2010
By Rudy Andrews - Published on
RIPE by Arthur Allen is an incredibly interesting, informative and ultimately inspirational tome that probes the tomato, its history and the industry which continues to provide horrible, cardboard-like excuses for a fruit that is enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people globally.

Allen explores the roots of the tomato fruit from its origins in the New World and its quick adoption by cultures worldwide and highlights the pioneering work of a few individuals and companies eager to preserve a trait marginalized by the food industrial complex: flavor.

Why do supermarket tomatoes taste so bad? And why are the tomatoes that taste so good so darn hard to come by?

Allen answers these questions in a provocative and evocative style that makes the book a delight to read.

A must for any lover or hater of the tomato, any home gardener, any chef (pro or amateur) and anyone interested in a prime example of the food industry's economic necessities trumping common sense.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not exhaustive, but well written & highly informative July 26 2010
By Mango Jeff - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am deeply impressed by how this book covers the main issues in tomato farming while remaining entertaining. It is a story well told and worth your investment if you, or someone you know, have an interest in growing or eating good tomatoes. The author explains how we came to have nice looking but flavorless tomatoes in the store and how farms both big and small are trying to improve. At the same time, he makes clear why year-round, blemish-free, great tasting tomatoes are unlikely any time soon, if ever.

It's unfair for me to say that the book doesn't go into enough depth. As a member of a small farm that grows and sells tomatoes at a farmers market, my appetite for knowledge about growing tomatoes is pretty much bottomless. I would have loved a book twice as long that spent a bit more time on the many different types of tomatoes you might come across and how they are affected by local growing conditions, diseases, and pests. Would that book have been as enjoyable to the majority of folks as this was? Probably not. But if this book encourages a few of it's readers to wander out to a local farmers market and pay a little extra for a good tomato, then it did both of us a favor and I am grateful.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Those Fascinating Tomatoes July 7 2010
By Hollywood Howie - Published on
I didn't know there was so much to know about tomatoes.
If you ever ate one, or intend to, this well-written book is a must-read.

I really loved the sections about how big business is not so concerned about taste but about how tomatoes must be grown so that they can be effectively shipped and sold. I also loved when the author discussed his trip to the small towns in Italy looking for the perfect tomato.

In all a perfect book about a perfect fruit.

Hollywood Howie
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Overripe and overcooked Dec 14 2010
By BigCJ65 - Published on
Sorry, but this book was a waste of time. Each chapter retells the story from the prior chapter and none of them is that interesting. I grow tomatoes, I like to eat tomatoes but this was really the story about industrial agriculture, and tomatoes were just the vehicle for telling that story. Don't waste your time.

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