Karen Ann Quinlan Out, Tomato In As New Jersey State Vegetable


I realize that simply mentioning this story underscores this blog's demonized propensity to wax lyrical about New Jersey, but screw it:

Members of [New Jersey's] Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee yesterday approved a measure designating the treasured Jersey tomato as the official state vegetable. A similar proposal is pending in a Senate committee, and has yet to be considered by the full membership of either chamber.

Sponsors of the measure get around the fact that the tomato is considered a fruit by using a century-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling that slapped a vegetable tariff on tomatoes, similar to the tax placed on cucumbers, squashes and beans. In squeezing tomatoes into the vegetable category, justices on the 1887 high court reasoned that if it's typically served with dinner, and not as a dessert, it must be a vegetable.

"Botanically, it's a fruit; legally, it's a vegetable," said Sen. Ellen Karcher (R., Monmouth), who is cosponsoring the Senate version of the bill. "Any of these bills that promote statewide pride is something we should embrace."

Fascinating that taxes play such a role. Whole thing here.

For Jerseyans of a particular age, this pathetic waste of legislative energy (similar to the attempt to make Brooce Springsteen's "Born to Run" the unofficial state song, whatever the fuck that means), brings to a close an era of mean Karen Ann Quinlain jokes.

We sail on into history, certain only of this: "When America was on its knees, either Russell Crowe's character in Cinderella Man or the actor who played Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies brought us to our feet."

Go here for info on the five major fruits of the Garden State (no McGreevey jokes, please).

NEXT: The Mysterious Decline in Black Recruits (Crap Journalism Edition)

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  1. I thought Frank Lautenberg was Joisey’s state vegetable.


  2. What an embarassment. I will have to make something up instead of admitting I was raised in NJ.

  3. Remember the joke from 1981?

    “What is Reagan’s favorite vegetable?”

    “James Brady!”

  4. Kevin, be damned you anti-jerseyite!

    Ben, you’re a traitor to your race.

    I have to admit that both Lautenberg and Corzine are embarassing but Brendan Byrne was a great man.

    New Jersey is the Fourth Rome.

    QFMC cos. V

  5. Ha! to you, Fabius.

    I’m a native lawnislander. Jersey is where people from The City moved when they couldn’t find a nice place in Nassau or Suffolk. 🙂


  6. Maureen Dowd has Quinlain’s old job now.

  7. I always thought it appropriate that the “unofficial” state song should describe a town in the state as a place that “rips the bones from your back/ its a death trap / its a suicide rap / we gotta get our while we’re still young.” Indeed. Here’s to escaping from my home town, Exit 136.

  8. “Botanically, it’s a fruit; legally, it’s a vegetable,” says it all. Who cares about science, we have court decisions!

  9. Sure it’s stupid, but it hurts no one (probably). So let’s hope legislatures work towards spending 100% of their energy on laws like this.

  10. Who cares about science, we have court decisions!

    Well, that’s the basis of the courts’ support of Roe v Wade, in the face of the discoveries of embryology that continue to flat-out contradict its “logic”. If it’s good enough for unborn children, it’s good enough for tomatoes, I guess.

  11. >Remember the joke from 1981?

    >”What is Reagan’s favorite vegetable?”

    >”James Brady!”

    Or, as Brady once said to Reagan: “Y’know Ron, I have half a mind to quit this job…”

    I know, I’m going straight to hell – and you’re all going with me, heh heh heh…

  12. Ayatollah Usoe and Crimethink:

    I also recall a court case involving pollution some years back where a judge ruled that monochlorobiphenyl was a PCB (polychlorobiphenyl), thus running roughshod over both chemical nomenclature and that Greek that it is based on.

  13. fredH,

    Ah, it is but a matter of time before the court-ordered dihydrogen monoxide bans… 😉

  14. Well at least they recognized the cranberry as one of the “five fruits.” Used to work in the bogs down in the pinies before escaping. Exit 114 here.

  15. Karen Ann Quinlan Out, Tomato In As New Jersey State Vegetable
    For Jerseyans of a particular age, this…brings to a close an era of mean Karen Ann Quinlain jokes.

    You’re all class, Nick.

  16. Y’all are forgetting Frank “I Am The Law” Hague, the worst of the city bosses.

    I will be sad to leave NJ; with the wretched tax hikes and smoking bans of the Bloomberg administration I had hoped to get in early on “the sixth borough”, Hudson County. Jersey City had a lot of the gritty urbanism that I liked about Brooklyn, and wall street had already taken over the waterfront in a big “fuck you” to government taxation. If Brooklyn is separated only by the East River, how much different can the other side of the Hudson River be (besides the terrible PATH system)?

    The answer: a lot. I still love Jersey: the shore towns, the lower taxes, the crappy casinos. But I’ve finally learned that when taxes go up, rich people stop paying taxes; and I can get the same benefit by keeping a Catskills cabin for residence purposes and a Manhattan apartment for city living.

    Anyway, I can’t believe no one’s mentioned Jersey Corn. People up here get all gooey-eyed when they talk about that stuff.

  17. You know, Mr. Feder, you sure ask a lot of questions for somebody from New Jersey.

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