Watermelon Wedge Issue Ripens In Oklahoma

Mar 1, 2015
Originally published on March 3, 2015 3:07 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Back here on this side of the Atlantic, the good people of Oklahoma are hoping to attract visitors with their own unique offerings. They have an official state animal, the bison, an official amphibian, the bullfrog, and an official meal that includes fried okra, sausage and gravy. Except for some complaints that the official meal is the stuff of heart attacks, Oklahoma's state emblems haven't exactly been controversial - until now - because the seeds of discontent are being sewn over the state vegetable, the watermelon. Yes, you heard correctly. Back in 2007, State Representative Joe Dorman pushed for his beloved summer treat to get top billing. He was dismayed to find the strawberry had already been crowned the state fruit. Dorman, a Democrat, had to settle for a vegetable. Now a repeal effort is underway by a Republican, and it's turned the watermelon into a political football. The melon supporters insist it can be both and should keep its title. Technically, the watermelon does have a genetic relationship with the gourd. Former lawmaker Joe Dorman wants to just get over this wedge issue. We have a $611 million budget shortfall, he says. There are more important things to focus on this year than whether watermelon is a fruit or a vegetable. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.