This Thursday, when you’re reflecting on what you’re most thankful for, there are a few states that might deserve some special recognition, particularly when it comes to producing the food many Americans eat on Thanksgiving.
More than 60% of all sweet potatoes produced in the U.S. in 2021 were grown in North Carolina – amounting to 1.8 billion pounds. Nationally, sweet potato production has largely been on the rise over the past two decades.
When it comes to the classic potato, Idaho lives up to its reputation, producing 32% of the nation’s spuds last year. Coming in at second place, the state of Washington produced 22% of the popular root vegetable.
Wisconsin led the states in the production of another popular Thanksgiving vegetable – green beans, harvesting 669 million pounds. One of the top three vegetables for total area harvested in 2021, green beans took up 173,200 acres of farmland, USAFacts re
Moving on to the main dish, last year farmers raised approximately 217 million turkeys for Americans to feast on. Out of every state, Minnesota raised the most birds in 2021 at 40.5 million, which was 18.7% of the national total. Second and third place for turkey production go to North Carolina and Arkansas, which raised 30 million and 27 million turkeys, respectively.
No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without cranberries. Whether you prefer them in a can of sauce or baked into your dessert, there are two primary states to thank for the tart, red berries. First place, once again, goes to Wisconsin, which produced 59% of the 2021 cranberry crop. Coming in second is the birthplace of Thanksgiving, Massachusetts. In 2021, the Bay State produced 1.8 million barrels of cranberries and 25% of national production.
Pumpkins, a fall favorite, are produced in all 50 states. That being said, it’s most likely that the pumpkin pie on your table this Thursday has its origins in Illinois, which produced 652 million pounds of pumpkins in 2021. Earlier data indicates approximately 80% of Illinois pumpkin acres were devoted to those processed for pie filling or other products, according to the USDA. Meanwhile, in states like Michigan, far fewer pumpkins were destined to end up canned on grocery shelves, highlighting how one state may focus on producing gourds we might carve on Halloween, for instance, in lieu of varieties that might be eaten on Thanksgiving.