Free the UglyRipe!


The government is finally doing something about the shortage of decent, affordable tomatoes in the wintertime–making it worse. The produce gatekeepers on the Florida Tomato Committee, a New Deal relic charged with judging tomato quality (a task too esoteric for consumers to handle on their own), won't allow a tasty but bumpy variety known as the UglyRipe to be shipped from the state's main growing area because they don't like the looks of it. The committee explains that its aesthetic requirements "serve to ensure customer satisfaction and improve grower returns. Not holding the UglyRipe tomato to these same standards defies orderly marketing and provides it unfair, undue marketing advantage."