Move to make the Palisade peach Colorado's official fruit goes sour
The attempt to make the Palisade peach Colorado's official state fruit has gone sour. The pet project of a Nick Babiak, a student at Steck Elementary School, took an unexpected hit when lawmakers wondered if that designation wouldn't dis the Rocky Ford cantaloupe, just now coming back from the undeserved bad rap its reputation received two years ago, when it was blamed for a listeria outbreak that actually happened a hundred miles away.
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"The prunus persica (L.) batsch, more commonly known as the peach, has been grown in and around Palisade, Colorado, since the 1880s; Colorado ranks sixth nationwide in peach production with over five hundred twenty thousand peach trees in cultivation; in 2012, peach cultivation yielded receipts of over twenty-five million dollars; peach cultivation accounts for seventy-five percent of all fruit production in Colorado, and seventy-five percent of all peach orchards in Colorado are located in and around Palisade; Palisade is home to the Palisade peach festival, which hosted fourteen thousand visitors in 2013," read the bill.
But Rocky Ford farmers have been growing cantaloupes since the 1880s, too. So Senator Larry Crowder, who represents that part of southeastern Colorado, was prepared to offer an amendment letting the melon and the Palisade peach share in the glory.
But when the fight got down and dirty -- some people went so far as to point out that the cantaloupe was a vegetable, not a fruit -- the bill was tabled. Crowder says he might bring the concept back next year with a proposal that would put both the peach and the cantaloupe in the same basket as official representatives.
Colorado already has many official state symbols, including the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (state animal), the blue spruce (state tree), the lark bunting (state bird), the aquamarine (state gemstone), the square dance (state dance) and the stegosaurus (state fossil).