Pumpkins are big business in Illinois. A state lawmaker has a sweet idea for making sure people know it: he wants to make pumpkin pie the official state pie.
Republican state Rep. Keith Sommer introduced legislation to make the designation last month, in time to honor the yearly pumpkin festival which just took place in his hometown of Morton, in the heart of Illinois pumpkin country.
Pumpkins are a $33 million industry for the state, the top producer in the country.
Morton, southeast of Peoria, is home to the Nestle USA Libby's plant, which processes much of the canned pumpkin distributed in the U.S. About 90 percent of the country's canned pumpkin comes from surrounding Tazewell County and nine other Illinois counties.
According to reports, Somner says he likes pie in general.
He's not alone.
Gov. Pat Quinn issued a proclamation this month designating Sept. 13 as Pumpkin Pie Day in Illinois. It was presented to officials at the festival in Morton last weekend.
According to Quinn, few foods are "more purely American than pumpkin pie".
No other state has dibs on pumpkin pie as its official pie. Sommer expects his bill to come up for debate next spring.