Why Texas Grapefruit is the State Fruit
There are so many things that grow easily in Texas. While snow and ice dominate the Texas panhandle during the winter, South and Central Texas have much more temperate climates, meaning that many things have an extra or prolonged growing season. One of those produce items is the Texas grapefruit.
In fact, from October to June, you can find a number of Texas grapefruit varieties on sale at the height of their sweetness and in peak form. Texas grapefruit is also a food powerhouse, supplying vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants all in one fruit. But these reasons alone are not the reason why the Texas grapefruit was named as the State Fruit of Texas.
The biggest reason why Texas grapefruit is the state fruit is because the red variety was created and perfected in a lab in Texas. With seeds that were likely brought to Texas in the 1800s, the first Texas grapefruit trees were planted and were of the white seedless variety. As these trees began to mutate, it was found that the darker the fruit inside the peel got, the sweeter the fruit became. Farmers and scientists began trying to modify the seeds so that they would produce even darker and redder varieties that would soon become the famous ruby red Texas grapefruit.
Today, there are several names for these bright red beauties. Texas Star, Texas Choice, Texas Sweet, Rio Red and more are all trademarked names for what has become by far the brightest and sweetest red variety you will find in the entire country. In fact, so popular is the red Texas grapefruit that they even import the citrus into Canada because the cold climate does not allow for a good crop of such fruit. In fact, the need for a more moderate temperature during growing season is a big reason why grapefruit is associated with Texas, where winters are tame compared to other areas.
With all this information, it is no wonder then that politicians and growers alike pushed to have Texas grapefruit named the official state fruit. It stands alongside other agricultural wonders associated with Texas such as the pecan tree, which is the official State Tree of Texas or the bluebonnet, the official flower. All of these things grow easily and in the case of bluebonnets, wildly in Texas. In fact, it is illegal to pick the bluebonnets even if they are growing wildly in a field. That is how serious Texas takes many of the things it makes official. And with Texas grapefruit being such a huge crop each year, one had to wonder what took officials so long when it came to naming it the official state fruit. Perhaps it was red tape. But luckily, the only thing red about the actual Texas grapefruit itself is the sweet flesh inside.