Hoisted from Comments: JRoth writes:
Grasping Reality with Both Hands: Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: I think that you have severely misused or even misunderstood the supermarket tomato. I know that you have a major weakness for rhapsodizing the plenty of industrial agriculture, and I would agree that a world that contains shippable tomatoes is a better one than one in which tomatoes are a 3 month/year treat for most Americans. But I would not agree that the "rubber tomato" exclusively is a preferable substitution - and thanks to centralized capitalist planning, that's what we had in American for close to 50 years. Americans, with their metis, did not choose cheap rubber tomatoes to the exclusion of local, ripe ones (which are scarcely more expensive when in season) - they had rubber tomatoes forced upon them, even in high summer.
I can honestly say that I did not taste a fresh, worth-eating tomato for the first 20 years of my life - that is the legacy of the rubber tomato.
The fact that other varieties are now available for purchase (when in season) is a much-belated correction to the centralized capitalist planners, who were not interested in creating a product for sale only 9 months of the year. Just as Germany no longer ruins its forests, supermarkets no longer force rubber tomatoes on their customers. That the bad practice has stopped is not a defence of the practice.
And I have to ask: "Why not? Why didn't you taste a tomato worth eating for the first twenty years of your life? What stopped you? Was some commissar standing over your parents waving a kalishnikov? Or did your parents just not think it was worth the extra money?"