DENVER (CBS4) – A fruit fight of sorts is taking place at the state Capitol as a very young lobbyist is urging the Legislature to name Palisade peaches as the state fruit. The debate has riled Colorado growers of other produce, including cantaloupe.
Peaches aren’t even yet in season and yet they’re the talk of the town among lawmakers. Why? Because one very tenacious 10-year-old is pushing peaches as the state fruit.
Nick Babiak made a trip to the at the Capitol, missing one morning of fourth grade, but the topic there is something near and dear to his stomach.
“It’s like the sweetest thing you can ever have. It’s like better than chocolate, better than marshmallow,” Babiak said.
Babiak was describing Palisade peaches. He’s been talking to the Legislature about his passion for peaches.
“I’m trying to make the Palisade peach Colorado’s official state fruit,” he said.
He’s found the politics of peaches to require a lot of sitting and waiting for committees and hearings. He’s learning patience as he pushes peaches to lawmakers.
“The problem is that the legislation is a bit too narrow because it only focuses on Palisade peaches,” said Diane Mulligan from the Rocky Ford Growers Association.
Mulligan applauds Babiak’s passion for peaches, but says her cantaloupe crew can’t support his position. But Babiak presents holes in their argument.
“In the (United State Department of Agriculture) in the (National Agricultural Statistics Service), and the Colorado Agricultural Statistics Service; both clearly say that in every state the cantaloupe is considered a vegetable,” Babiak said.
“If you go to resources, cantaloupe is defined both as a vegetable and a fruit,” Mulligan said.
The somewhat friendly fruit fight at the Capitol continues as lawmakers must decide what’s a fruit, what’s a vegetable, and what should be anointed as the top fruit.
“Seventy-five percent of all fruit production in Colorado (is) peaches,” Babiak said.
Babiak has a stack of peach research, including the ancient history of his beloved peach. He says he ran for student council at his school on the campaign promise of making the peach the state fruit. So he is a politician of his word.
The fruit bill was killed in the House on Wednesday night.