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August 20th, 2014 12:01 am MARTIN CIZMAR | Food Reviews & Stories

Our Campaign Plans to Make the Marionberry the Oregon State Food

50plates_4042IMAGE: WW Staff

To get things done in Salem, you have to lobby. The marionberry learned that back in 2009, when House Joint Resolution 11, which would have made it Oregon’s state berry, was pulled from the floor by then-House Agriculture Committee Chairman Brian Clem (D-Salem) at the urging of well-connected Washington County farmer Larry Duyck, who grows the rival kotataberry.

Not this time. Our readers voted to demand recognition for Oregon’s favorite berry.

Here’s our plan for navigating political land mines and competing interests to see that the marionberry is enshrined as Oregon’s state food.

—First, we drafted a resolution:

“Whereas the mighty marionberry was developed at taxpayer expense by Oregon State University; and

Whereas the marionberry is unequaled in deliciousness by any other berry and is beloved by all Oregonians as a most excellent berry fresh, blended into ice cream or baked into pies; and

Whereas Oregon leads the nation in blackberry production and most of the world’s supply of the unique and precious marionberry is grown near Salem; and

Whereas the blackberry crop contributes tens of millions of dollars to the state economy, now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon that:

The marionberry is the official food of the State of Oregon.”

—All members of the state Legislature will receive a letter encouraging them to support this resolution.

—We will court the support of Tillamook’s ice cream division and the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission, which represents berry farmer interests in the state.

—We will make a lobbying trip to Salem, where we will attempt to meet with legislators. We will carouse with influential legislative staffers—or whoever is willing to carouse with us. Maybe just the interns or David Wu.

—The first state legislator who supports this resolution publicly should expect to receive a campaign contribution of $100. This will be done regardless of his or her other political positions or personal virtue. We are a one-issue lobbyist, just like Philip Morris.

—This legislator will also see his or her brave leadership saluted in a blog post filled with statements that can easily be taken out of context in campaign literature. Think “brave bipartisan leadership,” “a voice Oregonians can believe in,” “an advocate for everything right about this state.”

—The first official who publicly opposes our proposed legislation will be personally and professionally destroyed.*

Ripe: Marion is the Berry We've Been Waiting For

The 50 Plates: 50 States' Distinctive Foods in Portland Restaurants

 Mari Me: Portland's Marionberry Dishes

 What Makes a Marionberry a Marionberry?

 Our Campaign Plans to Make Marionberries the Oregon State Food

*Sure, we are probably joking about this—but who wants to find out if we’re not?

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