The Supreme Court vs. the Jersey Tomato
In some states there seems to be a discrepancy in whether the tomato is a fruit or if it's a vegetable. But did you know that it came down to a supreme court decision to clarify that very argument?
The definition of fruit is "the sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seed and can be eaten as food." Well you can see by that definition you could probably put the tomato under the fruit category.
The definition of vegetable is "a plant or part of a plant typically used as accompaniment to meat or fish such as a cabbage, potato, carrot or bean." Okay, you could argue that the tomato fits into that category as well.
This huge debate came about in a landmark supreme court case all the way back in 1893 when John Nix of John Nix and Company founded the fruit commission and became one of the largest purveyors of fruit in New York City. Nix imported and exported fruits and vegetables.
In 1983 President Chester Arthur signed into act a tariff on imported vegetables, but not fruits imported to the U.S. Well John Nix was outraged as he just worked out a deal to import Caribbean tomatoes.
In order to sidestep the tariff, Nix decided that tomatoes were fruit and proceeded to use the definition of fruit as the reason for his argument. The Collector of the Port of New York, Edward Hedden, wasn't having it. So Nix filed suit against Hedden and the Port of New York.
During the trial expert witnesses and Webster's Dictionary were scrutinized and put through the wringer. The supreme court rendered a unanimous decision that said they decided in favor of Edward Hedden and found that the tomato should be classified as a vegetable based on the ways in which it is used, and the popular position to this end.
That is why specifically the Jersey Tomato is the official state vegetable.