While we all endeavor to shop and eat more locally, the reality is that when it comes to our grand Thanksgiving dinners, the staples often come from different states. In their latest study, foodie magazine Chef’s Pencil took a look at the USDA’s site to find where our Nov. 25 meals may be originating.
As it turns out, Minnesota has long been the top producer of the meal’s centerpiece, with 40 million heads (the measurement used for the bird) of turkey a year, followed by Arkansas with 31 million and North Carolina with 30 million. Rounding out the top 10 are Indiana with 20 million, Missouri with 17 million, Virginia with 16 million, Iowa with 11.7 million, California with 8 million, Pennsylvania with 6.7 million, and Ohio with 6 million.
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One of the more popular sides, potatoes, is unsurprisingly mainly produced in Idaho, with about 134.8 million hundredweight a year, followed by Washington state with nearly 99.7 million. Trailing behind are Wisconsin with about 28.7 million, Oregon with 27 million, North Dakota with 23.8 million, Colorado with about 22.6 million, Minnesota with 17.9 million, Michigan with almost 17.6 million, Maine with 13.5 million, and California with 12.9 million. But if you choose to go with sweet potatoes, North Carolina is the top producer, with about 16.8 million hundredweight, followed by California with 7.9 million and Mississippi with 5.9 million.
Of course, you can’t forget the greens, with green bean casseroles appearing on 20 million Thanksgiving tables, according to Campbell Soup Company. Wisconsin is responsible for approximately 5.7 million hundredweight a year, followed by New York with nearly 1.8 million and Michigan with about 1.7 million. If Brussels sprouts are more your speed, they are mostly likely to come from California. Wisconsin also provides the most cheese, with nearly 3.4 billion pounds a year, followed by California with about 2.4 billion and Idaho with just over one billion.
The corn source depends on the type, with Iowa bringing in nearly 2.3 billion bushels of field corn, followed by Illinois with about 2.1 billion and Nebraska with almost 1.8 billion. However, sweet corn tends to come from Washington state, with 15.4 million hundredweight, then Minnesota with approximately 15.3 million, before dropping down to Wisconsin with about 10 million.
When it comes to fruit, Washington state took the top spot for apples, producing about 6.9 billion pounds. New York was a distant second with approximately 1.4 billion, and then Michigan with 927 million. Cranberries are also from Wisconsin, with just over 4.6 million barrels, followed by Massachusetts with about 2 million, Oregon with 604,000, and New Jersey with 531,000.
And finally, it’s Georgia that’s the center of all pecan production, with 147.5 million pounds a year, then New Mexico with 78.8 million, and Texas with 42.6 million
So, no matter where you go this Thanksgiving, it’s likely your food will have traveled quite a ways as well.