Thanksgiving Holiday 2011: Turkey Season

November 24, 2011 America's Thanksgiving Turkey Day has a hefty turkey backstory. One that the Pilgrims and native Indians couldn't have imagined during that first Thanksgiving feast in the fall of 1621.

The Indians and the white settlers who landed at Plymouth couldn't have predicted that farming and agriculture would become the most sustainable of markets.

And likely, those first settlers and Indians couldn't have predicted that their harvest celebration would become one of the most cherished and anticipated holidays of the year.

Thanksgiving Holiday season is good news for families, agriculture and industry. Look at what happens to US markets each year in anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday when families purchase whole turkey products more than they do at any other period in the year.

248 million
The number of turkeys expected to be raised in the United States in 2011. That's up 2 percent from the number raised during 2010. The turkeys produced in 2010 together weighed 7.11 billion pounds and were valued at $ 4.37 billion.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

46.5 million
The preliminary estimate of turkeys Minnesota is expected to raise in 2011. The Gopher State was tops in turkey production, followed by North Carolina (30.0 million), Arkansas (30.0 million), Missouri (18.0 million), Virginia (17.5 million) and Indiana (16.0 million). These six states together account for about two-thirds of U.S. turkeys produced in 2011.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Culinary Delights

750 million pounds
The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2011. Wisconsin is expected to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 430 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (210 million). New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are also expected to have substantial production, ranging from 17 million to 54 million pounds.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

2.4 billion pounds
The total weight of sweet potatoes — another popular Thanksgiving side dish — produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2010. North Carolina (972 million pounds) produced more sweet potatoes than any other state.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

1.1 billion pounds
Total production of pumpkins in the major pumpkin-producing states in 2010. Illinois led the country by producing 427 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, New York and Ohio also provided lots of pumpkins: Each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $117 million.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

If you prefer cherry pie, you will be pleased to learn that the nation's forecasted tart cherry production for 2011 totals 266.1 million pounds, up 40 percent from the 2010 production. Of this 2011 total, the overwhelming majority (210.0 million pounds) will be produced in Michigan.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service,

$7.8 million
The value of U.S. imports of live turkeys from January through July of 2011 — 99.7 percent from Canada. When it comes to sweet potatoes, the Dominican Republic was the source of 60.1 percent ($3.2 million) of total imports ($5.3 million). The United States ran a $3.6 million trade deficit in live turkeys during the period but had a surplus of $41.7 million in sweet potatoes.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics

13.3 pounds
The quantity of turkey consumed by the typical American in 2009, with no doubt a hearty helping devoured at Thanksgiving time. Per capita sweet potato consumption was 5.3 pounds.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012

$1.38
Retail cost per pound of a frozen whole turkey in December 2010.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012

656,340 tons
The 2011 contracted production of snap (green) beans in major snap (green) bean-producing states. Of this total, Wisconsin led all states (258,320 tons). Many Americans consider green bean casserole a traditional Thanksgiving dish.