Turkey Traditions

Basically, we eat turkey once or twice a year – at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But have you ever thought about the events that led up to the carving of that beautiful bird? Turkeys raised throughout the year usually end up in kitchen in one of two forms: fresh or frozen. Per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), once these turkeys reach the desired market weight, the birds are culled for a frosty fate. Fresh turkeys will be quick-chilled to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas frozen turkeys are rapidly frozen in blast freezers and stored at zero degrees Fahrenheit. Ever notice that many turkeys purchased during the holidays need to start thawing a few days prior to preparation? This is because more frozen turkeys are produced and stored to meet such a high demand!

According to the USDA, Americans will eat an incredible 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving, and another 22 million on Christmas! Just imagine how many famers it took to produce that many turkeys—not to mention the corn, green beans, potatoes, and other commodities that go into the many other amazing dishes we prepare for the holiday season! The total number of turkeys produced in the United States has increased by 4 percent from last year alone, putting us at 243 million turkeys raised in 2016. Of that 243 million, roughly 210 million are sold in the U.S. Given that fact, this holiday season people gorge themselves on so many of these gravy-covered gobblers that nearly 1/3 of the entire annual production is consumed in two holidays alone! Holy greasy giblets Batman!

And let’s not forget about the delicious cranberry sauce! Did you know that it takes about 200 cranberries to make one can of cranberry sauce? On average, Americans consume roughly 5 million gallons of jellied cranberry sauce every holiday season, which is equivalent to over 22 billion cranberries! Hats off to the farmers who work extra hard to make these holiday meals possible, but also for making our everyday meals possible. The holiday season is a time to be thankful, but especially thankful for our farmers!