Do You Know Where Our Thanksgiving Food Comes From?

According to a Nielsen report, Americans will consume over 350 million pounds of turkey, 250 million pounds of potatoes, 57 million pounds of sweet potatoes, 80 million pounds of cranberry, and 28 million pies this Thanksgiving.

And while we're thinking about the things that we can be thankful for this year, don't forget the hard-working, and often underappreciated people that help to put all of that delicious food on our tables.

Some of them aren't as far away as you might think.

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Using information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the folks at Chef's Pencil have literally mapped out just where the key elements of our holiday feast likely originated.

Thanksgiving Food Map
Chef's Pencil/USDA

Where Our Thanksgiving Turkey Comes From

That stuffed bird most likely came from our neighbors to the east - Minnesota - where they raise a mind-boggling 40 million turkeys each year. The National Turkey Federation estimates that roughly 46 million turkeys are eaten every Thanksgiving.

The Source of the Sides

Another state over is Wisconsin and they are a big supplier for some of the side dishes for our holiday feast.

We all know that Wisconsin is the nation's top cheese producer, but they're also number-one in green beans and cranberries - all things you can't live without on Thanksgiving day.

One of the most popular sides is mashed potatoes and for that look no further than the state synonymous with one of our favorite starches. Idaho farmers produce more than 134 million hundredweight (which is actually 112 pounds) of potatoes every year.

If sweet potatoes are more your thing, then North Carolina is your place. That's where more than half the entire U.S. crop originates.

From sweet potatoes to sweet corn and a bit of a surprise. The most likely producer of sweet corn isn't anywhere in the midwest, but rather in the state of Washington.

That's also where you'll find the apples for your apple pies. Washington accounts for close to 70% of the apples grown in America.

The Roots of Thanksgiving Pies

The quintessential Thanksgiving dessert is, of course, pumpkin pie and for that, we head back to the nation's midsection where Illinois produces more pumpkins than the next six states on the list combined.

If a nice slice of pecan pie is more to your liking you can thank the farms of Georgia, which are responsible for half of all pecan production.

So do South Dakota farmers have a place at our Thanksgiving table? You bet!

The Mount Rushmore State is seventh in the nation in field corn production, which gets turned into cornmeal for our yummy cornbread. Farmers in the state produce more than 720 million bushels a year.

And while Wisconsin grabs most of the cheese accolades, South Dakota is one of the top ten suppliers in the country with more than 450 million pounds produced annually.


My Top 5 Favorite South Dakota Made Foods

As I was slicing a piece of cheese off my block of Dimock Dairy Colby cheese and boiling a ring of Bluebird Locker German sausage on the stove, I started thinking, "What foods is South Dakota known for?'

Then I realized the state is known for some of my favorite foods, are they're actually made right here in South Dakota!

So, I decided to search my cupboards and refrigerator looking for other South Dakota-made foods and came up with my Top 5.

Iowa Palmer Company's Twin Bing Products

Can you even really claim to live in this part of the country if you've never had a Twin Bing?


"It consists of two round, chewy, cherry-flavored nougats coated with a mixture of chopped peanuts and chocolate. The Twin Bing was introduced in the 1960s," -Wikipedia

Not only has the TB been a staple of the Sioux Empire for over half a decade, but the makers of the classic candy have also infused the unique cherry and chocolate flavor into lots of other things.


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