10 Jaw-Dropping Statistics About Thanksgiving Food

Dinner

Photo: Flickr

The contemporary Thanksgiving menu is a far cry from what the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe feasted on that historic autumn of 1621 to celebrate the colony’s first successful corn harvest. In fact, there is only one written account of the first Thanksgiving, and turkey isn’t mentioned.

And because the Pilgrims didn’t have a large sugar supply, the meal probably did not include pies, cakes, and other sweet treats either.

Nearly four centuries ago, diners likely enjoyed seal, swans, venison, and duck, perhaps prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods.

Eventually, however, the big meaty bird became a staple of the modern Thanksgiving dinner — along with sides dishes like mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and string beans, and desserts like pumpkin and pecan pies. And for that, we are very thankful!

242 Million

The number of turkeys expected to be raised in the United States in 2010. That's down 2 per cent from the number raised during 2009.

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

13.8 pounds

The quantity of turkey consumed by the typical American in 2007.


Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Tables 212-213.


736,680 tons

The 2010 contracted production of snap (green) beans in major snap (green) bean-producing states.

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

1.9 billion pounds

The total weight of sweet potatoes produced by major sweet-potato-producing states in 2009. North Carolina led the country (940 million pounds), followed by California (592 million pounds), and Louisiana (162 million pounds).

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


$103 million

The value of all pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states in 2009.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


195 million pounds

The nation's forecasted tart cherry production for 2010. That's 46 per cent below 2009's forecasted total.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

735 million pounds

The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2010.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


931 million pounds

Total production of pumpkins produced in major pumpkin-producing states in 2009.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


2.2 billion bushels

The total volume of wheat produced in the United States in 2010. North Dakota and Kansas account for 33 per cent of the nation's wheat production.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


$3.6 billion

The total value of turkeys produced in the United States in 2009. Together, they weighed 7.1 billion pounds.

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Now learn how turkey goes from farm to factory to table food...

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