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Broccoli-Hating Bush Encounters ‘The Broccoli Fellow’

March 21, 1990

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush may not like broccoli on his plate, but he got a big kick Tuesday out of seeing a lobbyist wearing a stalk of broccoli as a boutonniere.

Bush broke into laughter when he spotted George S. Dunlop, president of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, wearing the leafy green vegetable dressed up like a carnation on his lapel.

It was a jocular protest against Bush’s reported edict banning broccoli from the menu aboard Air Force One, the presidential aircraft.

The encounter came as Bush was shaking hands with farm lawmakers and lobbyists attending a ceremony at the White House where Bush signed a proclamation designating Tuesday as National Agriculture Day and urged Congress ″to help us pass a good, fair farm bill.″

When he came to Dunlop, Bush did a double-take, laughed and insisted his photographer get a picture of him with ″the broccoli fellow.″

Reporters at the ceremony could not hear the president’s exchange with Dunlop, but the lobbyist said afterward that Bush told him, ″Hey, I like that 3/8 That’s good 3/8″

He said Bush added that folks who ″like the taste of broccoli really ought to eat it. It’s good for them. Just because I don’t care to eat it, it doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t.″

Bush’s taste in food runs to pork rinds, taco salads with hot-pepper sauce and chocolate bars mixed with oat bran.

Dunlop, a former Senate Agriculture Committee chief of staff who now represents the $60 billion produce industry, said he had a florist at a local supermarket make up the boutonniere.

Broccoli is a $400 million crop for American farmers in California, the Carolinas and other vegetable-growing states, said Dunlop.

But the produce pusher said he harbors no ill feelings at the president’s disdain for the vegetable.

″It’s a free country,″ the lobbyist said. ″There’s plenty of things the president does like. If he doesn’t care for broccoli, maybe he likes carrots or apples or potatoes.″

And what did Dunlop plan to do with his boutonniere?

″Well, I think I’ll go home and eat it,″ he said.

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