Strawberry shortcake has become the state’s official dessert

Although lawmakers failed to deliver on some critical legislation this year, they did manage to find time to pass into law a bill that would establish “strawberry shortcake” as Florida’s official dessert. Senate Bill 1006 was the companion to a House bill filed in November by Representatives Lawrence McClure of Dover and Demi Busatta Cabrera of Coral Gables.  Historic City News has learned that Governor Ron DeSantis has already signed the bill, making it official.

The Senate Rules Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 1006, the final Senate committee necessary to establish strawberry shortcake as Florida’s official state dessert.  The bill previously cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee with unanimous support. 

“The economic impact of strawberries in this state is profound, and this bill recognizes a very serious contribution to one of the pillars of our community, which is our agricultural community.” said the bill’s sponsor, Senator Danny Burgess of Zephyrhills.  “I have the honor, with my colleagues in the House, of representing the greater Plant City area. There are more than 10,000 acres of strawberries planted annually, which makes up 75% of the country’s winter strawberry production.”

Hillsborough County produces roughly 15% of the nation’s strawberries and virtually all the berries grown during the winter, according to the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, which said the 20 million flats of strawberries produced yearly has a more than $700 million economic impact on the community.  An analysis of the House bill shows Florida is the second-largest producing region in the strawberry industry.

Burgess’ bill sailed through the Senate. However, several lawmakers picked at the House version, worried about its effect on Florida’s “Official State Pie” which is Key lime. Representative Blaise Ingoglia joked that passing the bill could open the state to lawsuits from the “Key lime pie lobby”. He then suggested a substitute dessert: the cannoli, which he said made sense “with the influx of New Yorkers coming to the State of Florida fleeing lockdown.”