TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — While most of the 2022 Florida Legislative session is focused on big, potentially controversial topics involving health care, education, taxes and continuing COVID-19 responses, one bill is making its way through both chambers with little to no controversy.
Sen. Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills) proposed Senate Bill 1006, which would make the state’s official dessert strawberry shortcake instead of key lime pie. So far, it’s passed every committee hearing it’s been read in unanimously. Both chambers of the legislature have yet to push back on the bill.
While uncontroversial, the bill has not been without amendment.
The latest version of SB 1006 clarifies what the official state version of strawberry shortcake is, to be “Strawberry shortcake with natural Florida dairy topping is designated as the official Florida state dessert.” Previously, the bill had only said strawberry shortcake would be the official Florida state dessert, without explaining what that meant.
Burgess’ push to change the state dessert is owed to the amount of strawberries America sources from Florida, specifically in the Tampa Bay area.
According to the proposed legislation, Plant City in Hillsborough County is the source of 10,000 acres of strawberries, which grow 75% of the U.S. winter strawberry crop. Additionally, Plant City was recognized as the home of the world’s largest strawberry shortcake in 2000, adding to the impact the region has on strawberry celebrations, including the annual Florida Strawberry Festival.
The festival has been held in Plant City every year since 1930, with a small exception of a six-year gap during World War II. According to the bill, about 200,000 strawberry shortcakes are served at the Florida Strawberry Festival each year, and they are the festival’s signature dessert. The festival recipe is “a base of shortcake, which resembles a biscuit with a touch of cake, a layer of sweet, sliced strawberries, and a healthy dollop of whipped cream.”
While Florida is famous for its citrus, particularly oranges, the shift from key lime pie would add some variety to which popular produces the state prioritizes in official representation. The state’s dairy industry would likely also benefit from the push for Florida dairy topping to be included in the official dessert’s designated recipe.