"It all comes down to soil, water and sunshine. It's the economics that's changed."
Jamie Williams leans over, snatches a hard, green tomato off a staked vine and slices through the middle in a swift, rote motion he's repeated hundreds of times through the years.
"They're getting close, real close. … They're starting to gel," he says.
Williams, 55, has witnessed the tomato industry's evolution. First, from his family's tomato farm in Immokalee, and now as director of Florida farming for Lipman Produce, the largest field tomato grower in North America. He's seen the emergence of Global Positioning Systems to maximize crop production and the rollout of underground pumping systems. He's seen a migrant worker population once filled with young African-American and Puerto Rican pickers shift to traveling groups of primarily older Hispanic workers.
What he has never seen is a climate in which it's so difficult to make a profit.
Read more at the Tampa Bay Times.