It’s no secret that this year has been a doozy for farmers. Between all the late snow and rain in the spring, to all the rain we experienced this summer it’s been an inclement growing season. It felt at times like we would never get to where we are today.
Even up until the snow started to fly on Tuesday, farmers were trying to get any last minute field work done. Many people that were able to plant crops have indicated that the yields have better than expected. It’s definitely a reason to celebrate heading into the Thanksgiving holiday.
This year was tough for the farmers, so as you dig into your holiday meal, take a moment to think about where your meal came from and the people that helped grow it. Thanksgiving Day is a day for turkeys to take center stage.
Minnesota leads the nation in turkey production. Here in Minnesota, we raise about 49 million turkeys annually.
So chances are that the turkey you’re having for Thanksgiving is a local bird. Seventy-five percent of the turkeys raised here end up in grocery stores and restaurants in the other 49 states. Most of the whole turkeys used for Thanksgiving meals are actually hens, not toms due to their smaller size.
Toms are used primarily for deli meat, turkey sausage and other turkey products. Chances are that your cranberries didn’t travel far either. In fact, our neighbors to the east, Wisconsin, produce 60 percent of the nation’s cranberry crop.
Cranberries are also grown in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Maine.
Cranberry beds are flooded with water during harvest, but are grown in dry fields for most of the year like other crops. Mashed, fried, cheesy or baked–there’s really no wrong way to eat a potato. Idaho leads the pack in potato production while states like North Dakota and Minnesota also grow potatoes.
Each year the average American eats about 130 pounds of potatoes! Green bean casserole is a staple for many Thanksgiving meals. Wisconsin leads the pack in green bean production. Competing for my potato affection are sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious foods on many Thanksgiving tables, if you leave them without butter and marshmallows! This super food is high in fiber, packed with vitamins, and fat and cholesterol free. Sweet potatoes are not actually closely related to regular potatoes.
They are root vegetables. Potatoes are underground stems, or tubers. North Carolina leads the way in sweet potato production.
What would Thanksgiving be without pumpkin pie? Morton, IL is the self-proclaimed pumpkin capital of the world. Morton is home to Libby’s pumpkin processing plant.
Ninety percent of pumpkins grown in the U.S. are raised within a 90-mile radius of the Libby pumpkin plant.
No matter what delicious foods will be on your plate this Thanksgiving, give thanks that we were able to have a harvest this year!