Palisade peach rolls ahead for state symbol

The Palisade peach is ripe to become the state’s next symbol.

A measure to add it to the list of other symbols such as the state rock and state song cleared a House committee on Monday thanks to a group of children from a Denver elementary school.

Several fourth-graders from that school told the 11-member House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee that it makes sense to make the Palisade peach the state fruit because it is unique to Colorado and well-known elsewhere in the nation.

Nick Babiak, a fourth-grade student at Steck Elementary, told the committee the history of the peach in the state and its economic impact.

He also used data he researched, including from Colorado State University, on why the peach deserves to be the state fruit over the apple.

“Colorado produced (in 2012) over 17,000 tons of peaches that generated over $25 million in revenue,” he told the committee. “In comparison, 8,500 tons of apples generated $4.8 million in revenue.

“In a recent CSU extension department report on fruit production, it was reported that 75 percent of all fruit produced in Colorado were peaches,” said Nick, who also created a Facebook page on the subject called Colorado for the Palisade Peach. “Based on these reports, peaches are clearly the winner in both production and revenue.”

If approved by the rest of the Legislature, it would join a long list of state symbols, which include such things as the state rock (Yule Marble), state animal (bighorn sheep) and state fossil (stegosaurus).

It also can serve as a marketing tool for the popular fruit, said Orchard Mesa peach grower Scott High, who traveled to Denver at the behest of the fourth-graders.

High, who owns and operates High Country Orchards & Vineyards, 3548 E 1/2 Road, said the state’s wine business is doing well, but Colorado grapes aren’t as well-known as its peaches.

The bill, which passed 10-1, heads to the House Appropriations Committee for more debate.


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