Tasty, wrinkly tomatoes win a battle against bureaucracy in Florida:
The Florida Tomato Committee, which controls most of the $500 million industry in the state, [previously] refused to allow Procacci Brothers to ship UglyRipe tomatoes out of the state. The committee was established by a federal agreement in 1937, and is one of many such groups that regulate agricultural products in several states.
The rules govern the looks of tomatoes. "Flavor is not a factor because, in the committee’s view, it is too subjective," reports the Times.
Hilariously, opponents claimed these little wizened-looking tomatoes would have an unfair advantage:
Florida governor Jeb Bush, opposed the change on the grounds that it would give an unfair advantage to the grower of UglyRipes. “Every grower has some percentage of its crops that is flat, elongated, ridged, etc., yet they are still required to adhere to the minimum grade requirements,” the governor’s letter said....
The tomato committee, which guarantees the consistency of Florida tomatoes, said that the new ruling could create a precedent that might allow inferior tomatoes to get to market.
Apparently, only the Florida Tomato Committee is able to detect "inferior tomatoes." I wonder what all those people are doing in the grocery store when they pick one up, squeeze, sniff, and put it back in the bin and walk away?
UglyRipes, marketed as Santa Sweets, will start shipping tomorrow.
Jacob Sullum tracked the Ugly wars for the magazine in 2005.