A food fight is brewing in the Ohio Legislature over whether to switch the official state beverage to apple cider, from the current tomato juice.
Two lawmakers are co-sponsoring House Bill 393 to make the change.
State Rep. Tavia Galonski, D-Akron, said in her pitch to fellow lawmakers to co-sponsor the measure: “Changing the state beverage from tomato juice to apple cider celebrates one of Ohio’s delicious crops and an autumn-time staple.”
State Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, is the second co-sponsor.
In 1965, lawmakers named tomato juice as Ohio’s official beverage to coincide with the Tomato Festival in Reynoldsburg outside Columbus, according to the Ohio History Central.
Ohio natives and white settlers didn’t initially grow tomatoes and many feared tomatoes were poisonous. But by the late 1800s, farmers began to grow tomatoes commercially.
Ohio ranks fourth in the nation for tomato production and 12th for apples, according to the 2017-18 statistical report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
For more than 100 years, Ohio lawmakers have been making official designations for the state including: Buckeye tree, Northern cardinal bird, red carnation flower, white trillium wildflower, black racer reptile, spotted salamander amphibian, Ohio flint gemstone, pawpaw native fruit.
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