The Great Debate
In 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court made an official ruling: the tomato is a vegetable. So why did the Supreme Court rule the tomato was a vegetable? Simple: the economy. Back in 1893, imported fruits were not taxed, but imported vegetables were. In order to reduce price competition from foreign farmers, farmers in the U.S. asked the Supreme Court to call the tomato a vegetable.
In one corner, we have botanists (people who study plants). They believe the tomato is a fruit. They define a fruit as “fleshly material covering a seed or seeds.”
In the other corner, we have the horticulturists (people who grow plants). Here’s what they say: fruit is grown on trees and the same tree produces fruit for many years. But tomatoes grow on plants, and the plants only live for one season. Therefore, the horticulturists say the tomato is a vegetable.
So, is the tomato a fruit, or a vegetable? We don’t know. Let’s just call it a tomato.