You can thank Minnesota (and the Midwest) for your Thanksgiving feast

Publish date:
Updated on

When you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner be sure to thank Minnesota and parts of the Midwest for the holiday staples you'll be chowing down on.

There's a good chance the turkey you'll be eating was raised in Minnesota – the state leads the nation in turkey production.

And that tart topping? It's probably from our neighbors – 64 percent of the nation's cranberries come from bogs in Wisconsin.

Don't forget dessert. Illinois probably helped make your pumpkin pie. The state is the largest producer of pumpkins in the nation.

Gobble, gobble

Nearly 90 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, which adds up to 46 million turkeys, U.S. News and World Report says. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Minnesota farmers will raise 45 million of the 242 million turkeys produced nationwide in 2014.

There are approximately 450 turkey farmers who operate 600 turkey farms in the state, the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association says. The industry brings in more than $600 million for farmers, processors and other related industries.

The cost of cranberries

About 20 percent of the world's cranberries get eaten during the holidays, the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association says, and this year there are plenty to go around.

Last year's record harvest, and this year's substantial harvest – Wisconsin is expected to produce 5.38 million of the 8.57 million barrels grown nationwide this year – has led to an oversupply of cranberries.

So the USDA says it will buy 68 million pounds (a single barrel contains about 100 pounds of cranberries) in a push to stabilize prices for cranberry growers, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. The cranberry products will likely go into school lunch programs and food pantries.

However, the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association says cranberry prices for consumers may go up until the market stabilizes, the news station notes.

Other Turkey Day favorites

Here's a look where the majority of other popular Thanksgiving foods are produced:

  • Sweet potatoes are mostly produced in North Carolina and the southern United States.
  • Green beans (snap beans): Wisconsin, Oregon and Michigan lead the country in snap bean production for processing – like the canned beans commonly used in green bean casseroles on Thanksgiving – while Florida and Georgia lead the nation in production of fresh-market snap beans.
  • Potatoes: Two-thirds of all potatoes harvested in the fall (which accounts for 90 percent of all potatoes) are produced in the West, with Idaho and Washington producing over half of all the potatoes in the U. S.

Next Up