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Derry representative, fourth-graders want potato to be N.H. state vegetable

Idaho and Maine may talk a big game about their potatoes, but the vegetable is said to have gotten its start here in New Hampshire. State Rep. John O’Connor thinks that’s worth celebrating.

O’Connor, a Derry Republican, has filed a bill for next year that would establish the potato as New Hampshire’s official state vegetable. The idea, he said, came from a class of fourth-graders at Derry Village School.

“They researched it and found out that we do not have a state vegetable,” O’Connor said, “and they researched it further and found that the very first potato grown in this great country of ours was grown in Derry, New Hampshire.”

Derry’s claim to the potato is supported by a state highway marker in the town, which says settlers in 1719 planted the Common Field, “where the potato was first grown in North America.”

The potato is already the state vegetable of Idaho, and the sweet potato is the state vegetable of both Louisiana and North Carolina.

But New Hampshire doesn’t have a state vegetable. We do have, among other things, a state fruit (pumpkin), a state beverage (apple cider), a state amphibian (the spotted newt), a state gem (smoky quartz) and not one but two state fish (the striped bass – saltwater – brook trout – freshwater).

O’Connor said Sen. Jim Rausch, a Derry Republican, and all of Derry’s other state representatives have agreed to cosponsor the potato bill. He said he’ll be meeting with the Derry students later this month to review the legislative process.

BEN LEUBSDORF

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