Oregon Legislature Finally Introduces Bill to Make Marionberry Pie the State Pie

At long last, our pleas have been heard!


For medical reasons, most of you don't remember the ignominious year of 2009.

But back in that cowardly and terrible year, a farmer named Larry Duyck singlehandedly cowed the pusillanimous legislators of Oregon from naming Oregon's beloved marionberry the state fruit of Oregon.

You know, of course, the marionberry.

It is the cabernet of blackberries—a tart, sweet, savory berry so large it might as well be a cluster of grapes, concocted in the labs and fields of our most esteemed Oregon State University, inventor also of the chemical day-glo maraschino.

Duyck was a farmer who grew the kotataberry, you see, which no one's ever heard of. And Duyck thought if we named the marionberry the state fruit, no one would ever hear of the kotataberry ever again.

Well, you still haven't—and we won't explain it.

Meanwhile, despite a vigorous whisper campaign by Willamette Week since 2014, the vociferous raspberry and blackberry lobbies have had their way for eight long years, tabling the notion and silencing the legislators, ceasing the advance of our native scientifically concocted and well-loved marionberry to the highest fruit offices of our state.

Related: Marion is the Berry We've Been Waiting For. Now is the Time to Make the Marionberry Oregon's Official State Food.

Well, no more!

Figuratively sprinting through the halls of compromise comes representative Sheri  Malstrom, public health nurse and rookie legislator of Beaverton.

After carrying the first bill of the legislative session, HB 2123—which bravely allows the Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board to expand the number of members that can sit on ad-hoc committees—she has now courageously stepped into the political whirlwind that is the Oregon berry.

Malstrom has introduced before the legislature a resolution that would henceforth recognize the Marionberry Pie, for all time, as the official state pie of Oregon. 

In the resolution Malstrom acknowledges what we all know as Oregonians—that marionberries are a "trailing, vigorous grower" that is "a nutritious food that is very high in antioxidants, vitamins and fiber and is recognized as having a profound and positive effect on health."

And, of course, that its pies are "mouthwatering and delightful when served by themselves, à la mode or garnished with whipped cream."

Now, we all know as Oregonians that a marionberry is as good in ice cream or a tart as it is in a pie. And have you had a marionberry cobbler? It is delicious.

Related: Our Favorite Local Marionberry Foods

But this is an important first step. Do not let your legislators again be intimidated by the raspberry, the blackberry or the kotataberry. Oregon—you know what's right!

Here is the full summary text of House Concurrent Resolution 19, which Malstrom rightly introduced:

"Designates Marionberry pie as official pie of Oregon.


Whereas the Marionberry was introduced by George F. Waldo of the United States Department of Agriculture in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1956 as part of Oregon State University's blackberry breeding program;

and Whereas the Marionberry is a hybrid blackberry that is a cross between the "Chehalem" and "Olallieberry" cultivars;

and Whereas the Marionberry is named after Marion County, where it was tested extensively; and Whereas 90 percent of the world's Marionberries are grown near Salem;

and Whereas the Marionberry is a trailing, vigorous grower that produces canes up to 20 feet in length and up to six tons of berries per acre;

and Whereas the Willamette Valley's climate, with moist spring rains and summers that are warm during the day and cool at night, is ideal for growing Marionberries;

and Whereas Oregon is the primary grower of Marionberries globally, producing 30 million pounds annually with 500 Oregon growers and 20 Oregon packers engaged in the production and packing of Marionberries;

and Whereas the Marionberry is a nutritious food that is very high in antioxidants, vitamins and fiber and is recognized as having a profound and positive effect on health;

and Whereas one of the most delicious ways to eat Marionberries is in a Marionberry pie;

and Whereas Marionberry pies are mouthwatering and delightful when served by themselves, à la mode or garnished with whipped cream;

and Whereas an ideal way to celebrate the wonders of a Pacific Northwest summer is to share a summertime meal with friends or family that concludes with a slice of fresh Marionberry pie;

now, therefore, Be It Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon: That the Marionberry pie is the official pie of the State of Oregon."

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