How much longer must New Hampshire endure without an official state vegetable?
Not long, if Derry Republican state Rep. John O’Connor has his way.
O’Connor is the driving force behind House Bill 535, which would make the potato the state’s official vegetable. The noble spud is well on its way to success: The House approved the bill on a 276-75 vote Feb. 20. One might say those 75 naysayers were “mashed” in defeat.
If the measure passes the Senate and receives the governor’s signature, the potato as state vegetable would join the state dog (Chinook), state amphibian (spotted newt), state beverage (apple cider), and state fruit (pumpkin) on the roll of official honors.
The measure has the full support of the Derry delegation, as the potato has a rich history around these parts. Derry, established by Northern Irish emigrants, is reputed to be the first place in North America that a white potato was grown.
“It has been confirmed that Rev. James MacGregor brought a sack of seed potatoes and planted them in 1719 in an area called Nutfield, now known as Derry,” O’Connor told our reporter.
Fourth-graders from the Derry Village Elementary School assisted with the project and were on hand at the Statehouse when the potato bill passed. Town historian Rick Holmes also helped with local potato lore. He wrote about the potato’s local claim to fame in his book “Nutfield Rambles.”
The potato is surely a major player in New Hampshire’s history. The tasty tuber is deserving of the honor as the state’s official vegetable.