In Defense Of Broccoli

Broccoli has come up several times this week at the Supreme Court during arguments the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Unlike the health care debate, the vegetable doesn't have a single attorney on its side. Melissa talks to Ron Midyett, CEO of Apio Inc., a grower/shipper of broccoli.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now to something that's come up multiple times this week at the Supreme Court. And unlike the health care debate, it doesn't have a single attorney on its side. I'm talking about broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Everybody has to buy food, therefore everybody's in the market, therefore you can make people buy broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Health insurance is not purchased for its own sake like a car or broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Well, now that's...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: I'm sorry. And broccoli is not the means of payment for anything else.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: But it's the means of satisfying the basic human need.

BLOCK: Well, broccoli wasn't a basic human need for President George H. W. Bush. He banned it from Air Force One in 1990 saying I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm president of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.

Well, joining me now is someone who would disagree. Ron Midyett is CEO of Apio, a grower/shipper of broccoli. And Ron, you are in the position here of defending this vegetable, broccoli.

RON MIDYETT: Well, thank you very much, Melissa, for the opportunity to defend, but I think it's been kind of a compliment that it's been brought up with the Supreme Court discussions this week as a great example of a healthy and nutritious food.

BLOCK: Ron, were you paying attention to the Supreme Court arguments this week and hearing your vegetable coming up multiple times?

MIDYETT: To be honest with you, I became aware of the broccoli example this morning when some colleagues in the industry started sending me e-mails and wanting to know what I'm doing with my marketing program to get broccoli mentioned in the Supreme Court discussions.

BLOCK: Oh, they thought it was deliberate, huh?

MIDYETT: Just a little bit of jesting.

BLOCK: Why do you think it's broccoli that - out of all the vegetables - gets picked on, gets no respect. Why broccoli?

MIDYETT: Perhaps people have had bad experiences with broccoli and how their mother or grandmother prepared it when they were growing up and it's - and it was a memorable experience. With that said though, I can only invite people to revisit it and give it a try, because it truly is - it's a superfood.

BLOCK: OK. Ron Midyett, CEO of Apio, a grower/shipper of broccoli in Guadalupe, California. Ron, thanks for taking on the defense of broccoli for us.

MIDYETT: Thank you, Melissa.

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