Illinois lawmakers have a lot of work ahead of them in the next few months, especially with trying to construct and pass a balanced budget. But lawmakers took a break from trying to solve the pension crisis or working on a viable budget plan for next year to talk fall desserts in the spring. The House of Representatives voted 108-3 April 16 to make pumpkin pie the official pie of Illinois. The measure has yet to pass in the Senate.
With so many other pressing matters to work on, where did this idea even come from?
Illinois is the nation's No. 1 producer of pumpkins, both the jack-o-lantern and cooking varieties. The Illinois Department of Agriculture says the state has the most land devoted to pumpkin production in the country at nearly 13,000 acres. Illinois made up 29 percent of all pumpkin-growing land in the U.S in 2005 and yields 95 percent of all pumpkins processed in the U.S. That's nearly 5 million pounds of pumpkins. Tazewell County is responsible for the most pumpkin growing in the state, with 48 farms dedicated to the big orange orbs.
Illinois is home to the top pumpkin product producer in the world -- Nestle's Libby's in Morton -- and Seneca Foods near Peoria. These two factories produce most of the country's canned pumpkin used in traditional fall dishes such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins. Illinois might as well change its name from the Prairie State to the Pumpkin State.
Further proving Illinois' pumpkin pride, a Moline woman even bought a year's supply of pumpkin spice lattes last October, says Fox News in the Quad Cities.
Read the rest of the pumpkin pie saga at Reboot Illinois to find out about the legislative process to codify the dessert into Illinois law and what other unusual symbols Illinois boasts.
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