Soon, the Apple Will Likely Be the Official Fruit of Pennsylvania

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pennsylvania-apples

We still don’t have a state budget[1], but that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from tackling issues important to citizens of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Earlier this week, House Bill 1784[2] was referred to the State Government committee. It was introduced by Adams County Rep. Will Tallman[3]. It has 13 co-sponsors, including Philadelphia Rep. Rosita Youngblood.

HB 1784, of course, is a resolution declaring apples the official fruit of Pennsylvania. Not a certain type of Pennsylvania apple, mind you. Just apples in general. Apples!

To be fair, people — even Pennsylvania lawmakers — can think about more than one thing at once and this apple bill did nothing to prevent a full budget from passing. The legislature managed to do that on its own.

To be fair again, however, the budget was due in the summer and we still don’t have one. In the meantime, lawmakers sponsored a bill that contains these findings of fact:

  1. Apples are grown in every county within this Commonwealth.
  2. Adams County is the state’s top apple-producing county.
  3. Pennsylvania is the country’s fourth largest producer of fresh apples and processed apple products.
  4. Today, there are more than 21,000 acres of Pennsylvania apple orchards.
  5. Approximately 35 percent of Pennsylvania’s apples are grown for fresh market, while 65 percent are used for processed products like applesauce, apple cider, apple juice, apple slices and more.
  6. Apples are nutritious and are a good source of fiber.

If this bill passes, Pennsylvania will become the seventh state to declare[4] its official fruit the apple. It will become the fourth to just use apples in general rather than some specific apple variety, joining New York (which contains the Big Apple), Vermont (known for its cider) and Washington (probably the state most known for apples).

This is not meant to disparage the good apple growers of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program, established by the Commodity Marketing Act of 1968[5], notes that apples have been a commodity in America since colonial times. The York apple variety[6] was invented in York County in 1820. The Nittany apple was — you guessed it — invented by Joe Paterno himself! (Okay, not really. But it was invented in 1979 at Penn State[7].) And Pennsylvania’s own Lee Showalter was named Apple Man of the Year[8] at the annual Apple Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference last year.

I think it’s clear that the apple is actually a quality choice for the official Pennsylvania fruit. And maybe Pennsylvania’s powerful apple grower lobby is deluging lawmakers with calls and letters and bushels of apples, demanding the apple be named the official fruit immediately. But maybe next time wait until we have an actual budget before tackling honorary bills.

PA House Bill 1784 (The Apple Bill)

Follow @dhm[9] on Twitter.

Endnotes:
  1. don’t have a state budget: https://www.phillymag.com/news/2015/12/30/tom-wolf-veto-budget-garbage/
  2. House Bill 1784: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1784
  3. introduced by Adams County Rep. Will Tallman: http://www.legis.state.pa.us//cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20150&cosponId=19349
  4. the seventh state to declare: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_foods
  5. established by the Commodity Marketing Act of 1968: http://pennsylvaniaapples.org/about/board-staff/
  6. York apple variety: http://pennsylvaniaapples.org/variety/york/
  7. invented in 1979 at Penn State: http://pennsylvaniaapples.org/variety/nittany/
  8. was named Apple Man of the Year: http://www.thepacker.com/news/lee-showalter-named-apple-man-year
  9. @dhm: http://twitter.com/dhm

Source URL: https://www.phillymag.com/city/2016/01/15/soon-the-apple-will-likely-be-the-official-fruit-of-pennsylvania/