January 17, 2016
Pennsylvania lawmakers are still locked in a heated battle over the state's absent budget, but one piece of legislation currently sitting in a House committee figures to get bipartisan support.
Dan McQuade over at Philly Mag points out that House Bill 1784, if passed, would make the apple the official fruit of Pennsylvania. The bill, introduced by Rep. Will Tallman of Adams County, was referred to the Committee on State Government on Jan. 13.
Why does the apple deserve such an honor? The legislation cites the fact that it's grown in every county in the Commonwealth and that Pennsylvania is the fourth largest producer of fresh apples and processed apple products in the country, among other things.
McQuade notes the bill would just make apples in general the state fruit and Pennsylvania wouldn't be the first to do so; six other states have given the apple that honor.
But according the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program, the Keystone State is a regular Johnny Appleseed when compared to other states:
In 2012, there were almost 19,000 apple-bearing acres in Pennsylvania. PA’s apple industry contributes nearly $80 million per year to the economy. Close to $3 million of the total economic impact is a result of apple exports to Central America, India, Israel and elsewhere.
In addition to the fruit boosting the state economy, apples may in fact help keep the doctor way. According to the program, the fruit is rich in fiber, helps reduce "bad cholesterol" and is free of fat and sodium.
The program has a bunch of apple-themed recipes, if you're interested, including the classic apple pie -- a dessert you can enjoy while elected officials continue to argue over how to slice up the pie of state funds.