TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – America will be gobbling up about 46 million turkeys this Thanksgiving including in cities actually named “Turkey” in Louisiana, Arizona, Texas and North Carolina.
The first Thanksgiving was a three-day meal between about 50 Mayflower Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians in 1621 in celebration of a military alliance and a successful harvest. Although Americans celebrate their Thanksgiving feast with turkey, it’s more likely that the pilgrims and Indians ate deer and fowl like ducks and geese as well as fish at the first Thanksgiving.
And even with a 23% price increase in turkey prices this year, Americans have still decided to buy the bird for their holiday meal. According to the Morning Consult, nearly 9 out of 10 hosts (87%) said their Thanksgiving menu will stay the same this year and turkey will be the main dish to be served.
The avian flu didn’t stop turkeys from being bought either. Joel Brandenberger, National Turkey Federation President, had said about turkey availability, “If you’re looking for a turkey product this Thanksgiving, you’ll be able to find one. There has been a lot of discussion about whether avian influenza or the general economy is going to affect this holiday season. Thanks to the hard work of U.S. turkey producers, there will be an ample supply of turkeys available for Thanksgiving. Turkeys already are available for purchase in most grocery stores and supermarkets, and many retailers are offering special discounts and attractive prices on whole turkeys this Thanksgiving.”
Overall, during the entire year, turkey consumption in 2021 in the United States was 5.1 billion pounds. The United States is also the world’s largest turkey producer and the largest exporter of turkey products with the top turkey producing states being Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, Iowa and California.
And while overeating at the Thanksgiving table seems to make everyone want to take a nap, the person who actually deserves a little siesta is the host because the average amount of time it takes for the host to prepare a Thanksgiving feast is 9.6 hours.
Thankfully (from the viewpoint of the turkeys) not all of their feathered friends will get the axe and wind up on the dinner table. This year, President Biden pardoned two turkeys named Chocolate and Chip, marking the 75th anniversary of the annual tradition.