ALBANY (release)— By a more than two-to-one margin, New York Farm Bureau's Facebook friends think sweet corn should be the Official State Vegetable, beating out onions and some other write-in vegetable candidates.
"The results are a-maize-ing," said Julie Suarez, New York Farm Bureau Director of Public Policy.
Farm Bureau's informal Facebook poll on the state vegetable debate resulted in sweet corn with 725 votes versus onions with 311 votes. Other vegetables like cabbage, potatoes and pumpkins received 240 votes.
The poll follows two bills introduced in the Senate this month seeking to designate an official vegetable of New York State.
The onion is supported by Senator David Carlucci of Rockland County, reflective of the many onion farms in the Black Dirt region of his district. Senator Michael Nozzolio of Seneca County introduced a bill seeking a designation of sweet corn, recognizing the many sweet corn operations in his district.
"Certainly there are bigger pressing issues in Albany, but at the same time naming an Official State Vegetable recognizes the importance of the vegetable industry to the economy of Upstate New York and the farm towns of Long Island," Suarez said. "We appreciate the efforts of Senators Nozzolio and Carlucci to highlight the importance of our state’s vegetable farms to our New York consumers.”
“New York Farm Bureau as an organization represents farmers who grow different vegetable crops, frequently on the same farm operation. Our organization does not have a position on the great state vegetable debate, but clearly, as our Facebook poll showed, farmers and consumers in New York are passionate about their locally grown vegetables,” said Suarez.
New York already has an official fruit, the apple; an official tree, the sugar maple and even an official state muffin, apple muffin, as well as an official beverage that recognizes the value of our state’s dairy farmers – milk.
But no vegetable.
New York statistically ranks high in several vegetable categories.
The value of all New York vegetable production in 2010 totaled $409 million, according to the New York Agricultural Statistics Service. New York is fifth in the nation in area harvested and sixth in value of principal fresh market vegetables.
New York's abundant vegetable production reflects the excellent soils, good weather, and close proximity to the metro markets enjoyed by New York farmers.
While onions and sweet corn were both leading vegetables, the biggest vegetable crop in New York is actually cabbage, with a $101 million value in 2007, the last time an agricultural census was conducted.
Sweet corn is second in value at $71.1 million and onions are third at $54.2 million.
Other big vegetable crops in New York include pumpkins, snap beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and cauliflower.
New York Farm Bureau's Facebook page is www.facebook.com/NYFarmBureau.