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Lawmaker: Make pumpkin pie Illinois’ state pie

Pumpkin pie should be our state pie, says a downstate lawmaker who figures that’s a sweet way to make sure people know that pumpkins are big business in Illinois.

Republican state Rep. Keith Sommer introduced legislation to make the designation last month, in time to honor the yearly pumpkin festival that just took place in his hometown of Morton, in the heart of Illinois pumpkin country.

“I recognize we have much more serious business to do as a state, but, in celebration of the festival, I thought it was appropriate,” Sommer says.

Pumpkins are a $33 million industry in Illinois, which is the nation’s top pumpkin producer.

Morton, southeast of Peoria, is home to the Nestle USA Libby’s plant, which processes much of the canned pumpkin distributed in the United States. About 90 percent of the country’s canned pumpkin comes from surrounding Tazewell County and nine other Illinois counties.

No other state has dibs on pumpkin pie as its official pie.

Sommer expects his bill to come up for debate next spring.