The humanitarian issues of Estabrook's tomatoland include underpaying workers, cheating them of wages, exploiting their ignorance and frequent status as illegal aliens, ensuring that they are poorly housed and fed, carelessly exposing them to hazards like pesticides, and at worst, brutally enslaving them. He clearly explains that this is real and total slavery with only a slim chance of escape. He describes several lawsuits and campaigns for fairer treatment of workers, and profiles various victims and advocates. He's especially detailed about the well-known campaign to increase the pay of tomato pickers, and corporate resistance (from businesses like Trader Joe's, which I think by now has conceded) even to a token increment of a penny per pound of tomatoes.
The culinary issues are predictable: why don't tomatoes have any taste? Estabrook describes the indifference of the major growers to whether their tomatoes do in fact taste like tomatoes. He acknowledges that no mass-market, high-quantity agriculture could produce garden-ripe, fresh-picked taste -- but goes to some length to clarify that the extremes of tasteless tomatoes could be addressed, and how a few experimental labs are working on tomato taste and on preserving and incorporating genes from wild plants that grow in South America. The large-scale growers, however, just don't care. Yes, organic farmers have some success, as do farmers in other places, but the demand for a cheap product overwhelms them.
In sum, the material in this book is important, but I wanted a broader look at the tomato.