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LI lawmaker aims to make apple crumb NY's official pie

Assemb. Charles Lavine is seen during a conference

Assemb. Charles Lavine is seen during a conference call on Nov. 7, 2013. Credit: Barry Sloan

New York may be second to Washington in apple production, but Assemb. Charles Lavine is hoping the state will be the first to claim apple crumb as its state pie.

Lavine, a Democrat representing Glen Cove, introduced the bill in August and said he will be pushing it in January. The bill does not yet have a Senate sponsor, but he hopes to find one before the legislative session starts, he said.

Almost 700 commercial New York apple growers produce about 29.5 million bushels of apples annually, according to New York Apple Association. The industry is responsible for about 17,500 jobs.

While New York has claimed the apple as its state fruit and the apple muffin as its state muffin, this appears to be the state's first look into state pies. And the Empire State may have a little competition.

Vermont designated classic apple pie as its state pie in 1999, with the caveat that servers must make a reasonable effort to serve slices with a glass of milk, a piece of cheddar cheese weighing at least half an ounce or a "large" scoop of vanilla ice cream.

In August, Illinois officially designated pumpkin pie as its state pie. There's pecan pie for Texas, officially approved in 2013. Indiana declared sugar cream pie a state symbol in 2009. Florida has key lime pie, and Delaware has peach pie.

The apple crumb pie is a good fit for New York, Lavine wrote in the bill memo, because the crumb topping makes the dessert more ambitious than standard apple pie.

"No dessert is more fitting for New York State than a pie that strives to be even better," he wrote. "The apple crumb pie characterizes the New York Citizens who are constantly creating and innovating to make what is great, even greater."

He said he was inspired after hearing about White Post Farms' recent victory in the American Pie Council's annual pie championships, he said. The Melville-based farm and baking company took home two awards in the contest's independent commercial baker category: one for apple crumb pie and another for pecan pie.

"We claimed the mantel of the having won that," Lavine said of the apple pie. "This seemed like a darn good time to promote apple products."

White Post Farms head baker Rob Brigati, who is responsible for White Post's signature apple crumb recipe, is also named in the memo.

New York Apple Association president Jim Allen said in a statement Monday the group supports the bill.

"We are now harvesting statewide, so there will be plenty of apples to make apple crumb pies to celebrate when this bill passes," Allen said. "We think the best pies are made with a variety of New York State apples."

Lavine said he believes the bill has a good chance of passing because, well, there can never be too much pie.

"When it comes to the American Flag, mom and apple pie, I'm sure we'll always have unanimous support," he said.

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