Citizens of Oklahoma, you have been misled. The watermelon is not a fruit—it is a vegetable!
At least that’s what the Oklahoma State Senate decided when it adopted the watermelon (alleged cousin to the cucumber) as the official Oklahoma State Vegetable.
This quirky state symbol must have come into being in the early 1900s, when Oklahoma was still prairie and the categorization of fruits and veggies wasn’t yet widely agreed upon, right?
Wrong! This egregious mistake happened in 2007, merely eight years ago.
How could the Oklahoman State Senate have let this happened? Far from fight this blatant lie, the Oklahoma State Senate voted with an overwhelming majority of 78 to 19, in favor of making the watermelon the official state vegetable.
Am I missing something?
An overly enthusiastic senator Don Barrington declared that “the controversy on whether watermelon is a fruit or vegetable has been officially decided by the Oklahoma legislature.”
But as no one listens to “watermelon-loving-rednecks,” the world remains unconvinced that watermelon is a vegetable.
Senator Nancy Riley pointed out that her dictionary defines watermelon as a fruit. Well that settles that debate!
Barrington originally sponsored the bill because the boost in the watermelon’s status was expected to aid his Rush Springs watermelon-growing constituency. Since the watermelon was ordained Oklahoma’s State Vegetable, tourism to Rush Springs’ annual Watermelon Festival has indeed increased.
But why not just make watermelon the state fruit? That would make more sense.
Unfortunately for watermelon, it was beat out by strawberry in the 2005 race for Oklahoma’s State Fruit.
Watermelon then decided to run for the vacant office of state vegetable. Its claim to that spot rests on the argument that watermelon is related to the gourd and cucumber families (both of whom refused to comment), which are both classified as vegetables.
Watermelon won its spot as state vegetable in part because watermelon frequently makes the list of top 20 most valuable Oklahoma commodities.
Watermelon and Senator Barrington’s victory may be short lived, however, as Senator Nathan Dahm has filed a SB 329 with the goal of repealing the watermelon as the state vegetable.
His grounds? That the watermelon is a fruit.
It remains to be seen if such a logical argument will survive the Oklahoma State Senate.