Will proposal change Ohio’s official beverage?


I like both apples and tomatoes. But my palate does not like the juice from either. Does my taste preference disqualify me from penning this column?

Ohio House Bill 393, introduced on 11/05/2019, may be the beginning of a fruit fracas. Hmmm. Would you rather be hit in the face by an apple or a tomato?

Depends on the ripeness. A rotten tomato would hurt less.

Hmmm. Depends on the thrower. No baseball players from the Cincinnati Reds allowed. Eek. Ripe or unripe, apples may be the victor in a food fight.

Tomatoes, get ready for a tiff and tussle. By the way — tomato is considered a fruit.

HB 393. “Long Title To amend section 5.08 of the Revised Code to make apple cider instead of tomato juice the official beverage of the state.” Sponsored by State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) District 35.

I am imagining Galonski’s initial conversation to find a cosponsor. “My fellow politicians, hot apple cider is the favorite non-alcohol and legal beverage of most Ohioans at Christmas. And the cinnamon stick looks so cute in the mug. Are you with me or against me?”

State Representative Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton) might have replied, “Yes! Apple pie is very American. And Johnny Appleseed worked so hard. I’d be Ohio proud to be the cosponsor. May the best fruit juice win.”

My questions: What qualifies a fruit to be selected as the official beverage? A tart/sweet taste? Happy taste buds?

Not being that knowledgeable or educated in agriculture and commerce, maybe an official title is a big deal. Maybe a sparkly title sells more fruit juice.


The Buckeye State’s 18 biggest cash crops. Ohio apple orchards accounted for 3,400 acres in 2015, a crop valued at $20.6 million, according to a 2016 article in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The top apple-producing county in Ohio is Licking, just east of Columbus.


The Cleveland Plain Dealer also reported, “Ohio ranks third nationwide for production of fresh and processed tomatoes. The state has 3,700 acres dedicated to growing tomatoes that are sold fresh, and 5,000 acres to growing tomatoes for processing. The combined crop has a net worth of $60.4 million.” Ottawa County is the top grower of tomatoes in Ohio.

The first known usage of proclaiming a specific beverage a “state beverage” within the US began in 1965 with Ohio designating tomato juice as their official beverage. History buffs may rebel if apples win the title.

Possible Solutions

Can Ohio constituents prevent an argy-bargy? Bring in the negotiators.

Adults teach and tell toddlers and kindergarteners how to share. Could apples and tomatoes share the limelight by taking turns being the official beverage of Ohio? Even years belong to apples while odd years belong to tomatoes.

Or Galonski and Carruthers could introduce a House Bill making tomato a vegetable. Then tomato juice can carry the title of Ohio’s Official Vegetable Beverage. Apple cider can shine as the official fruit juice. But Ohio grapes may take issue with that. Would you rather be hit in the face with a bunch of grapes or an apple? What do you call a grape and apple clash? A grapple.

The most popular choice for state beverage designation is milk. Would Ohio consider cow juice? Kids would vote chocolate milk for sure.

The fitness and wellness clique would vote water as our official beverage. No taste, but it’s healthy.

My vote goes to coffee. Of course, coffee comes from a tropical plant and no coffee farms in Ohio. But that’s what will make it interesting as Ohio’s official beverage. You can sip it hot or cold.

I find Ohio House Bill 393 to be fruity, yet frivolous. But seriously folks, our elected politicians need to focus on more important matters like opioid addiction, suicide prevention, infant mortality, solar energy, healthcare, and jobs to name a few.


By Melissa Martin

Contributing Columnist

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio. Contact her at [email protected].

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