Olean, NY (WKBW-Release)
Sweet corn or the onion? Senator Catharine Young (R,I,C – Olean) is asking for public input to determine her vote for which should be named New York’s official state vegetable.
“While New York counts the apple as its official fruit, the rose as its official flower and milk as its official beverage, we still don’t have a state vegetable,” said Senator Young.
Senator Young said two competing proposals to name a state vegetable were introduced in the Senate recently. Senator David Carlucci (D-New City) sponsors legislation supporting the black-dirt onion and Senator Michael Nozzolio (R-Lafayette) is calling for a bill to give sweet corn the official honors.
“We have passed an on-time budget, passed a property tax cap and a spending cap in the Senate, and obviously there are many issues that we need to address in Albany right now. But aside from being a fun debate, this is also a great way to draw more attention to our agriculture industry, and encourage the consumption of New York’s vegetables and farm products,” she said.
Senator Young has started an online poll on her Facebook page and website where she is encouraging people to log-on and vote for their choice. Both sweet corn and the onion are a poll option, but Senator Young has also left an “other” option for people to designate other vegetables.
“Who is to say there shouldn’t be a third consideration? Or even a fourth? Cabbage and pumpkins also are great assets to our state’s agricultural industry,” Senator Young said.
To participate in Senator Young’s online poll, you can log onto either her Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/SenatorCathyYoung or her official website at: http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/catharine-young.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2010 the state harvested more sweet corn: 22,800 acres last year, compared with 10,200 acres of onions. Sweet corn also made more money than the onion: $71.1 million to $54.2 million.
Senator Young pointed out that neither sweet corn nor the onion were New York’s top-grossing veggie last year. She said that distinction went to cabbage, which brought in $74.4 million. The state ranks second in the nation in cabbage production.
The pumpkin also would make a great choice, since New York ranks number one in the nation for that crop. Other big New York vegetable crops include snap beans with a 4th in the nation ranking, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and cauliflower.
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.