CONCORD, N.H. -- Fourth-graders from Derry celebrated a starchy legislative victory Wednesday after the New Hampshire House approved their request to declare the white potato the state vegetable.
Students from Derry’s Village School watched as their bill was debated by representatives looking to illustrate the role of civilized debate in self-governance.
Potato supporters cited research showing New Hampshire was the first state to cultivate the white potato in North America when an Irish immigrant brought a sack of seed potatoes in 1719 to the area now known as Derry. Virginia challenged that research but has since conceded New Hampshire was first to grow the white potato.
Rep. James Parison, R-New Ipswich, argued the state vegetable should be broccoli. He pronounced it the crown jewel of nutrition and said that if it became the state vegetable, kids might be more likely to eat it.
Parison said Thomas Jefferson had cultivated broccoli, adding, "That makes broccoli a patriotic vegetable even though no one liked it until it became trendy in the 1930s."
After the vote, House Speaker Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, declared the broccoli lovers had lost. The bill will now be considered by the Senate, where it could run headlong into a bloc of broccoli backers.