Ah, the eternal fruit vs. vegetable debate regarding tomatoes. Thank goodness one reader (Readers' Forum, March 31) believes he/she knows more about horticulture than Larry Sagers. I, however, will defer to Mr. Sagers (a noted horticulturist), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, my dictionaries and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Everyone knows that botanically a tomato is a fruit, but can it also be a vegetable? According to the USDA, a vegetable is defined as "any part of a plant that is commonly eaten by humans as food, but is not considered to be a culinary fruit, nut, herb, spice or grain." My dictionaries give the first definition of vegetable as "any plant whose fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts are used as food" with slight variations in wording.

And finally, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1883 (Nix v. Hedden) that the tomato is a vegetable. And we all know the judiciary is never wrong!

An Bradshaw