Mark Bittman visits an industrial-scale tomato farm in California, and finds it good.
The tomatoes are bred to ripen simultaneously because there is just one harvest. They’re also blocky in shape, the better to move along conveyor belts. Hundreds of types of tomatoes are grown for processing, bred for acidity, disease resistance, use, sweetness, wall thickness, ripening date and so on. They’re not referred to by cuddly names like “Early Girl” but by number: “BQ 205.”
I tasted two; they had a firm, pleasant texture and mild but real flavor, and were better than any tomatoes — even so-called heirlooms — sold in my supermarket.