(American Farm Bureau Federation)

Rising food prices have outpaced overall inflation in recent years. That’s the bad news. The good news? The cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner has been pretty stable. And not just recently. It’s held relatively steady over the 28 years the American Farm Bureau Federation has kept track of it.

This year it even fell a moderate amount. A traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 fell 44 cents this year to $49.04, according to the AFBF’s totally unscientific count. Spend that extra cash wisely. (Maybe buy a gumball or make a few wishes at your mall water fountain.)

The AFBF count is informal — it’s based off of a survey involving 167 volunteer shoppers in 34 states — and they don’t maintain state-by-state numbers. But various Farm Bureau chapters do and among just the seven that broke down costs in their state, there’s as much as a $7.38 difference. The cost of your classic Turkey Day meal in Virginia is $50.01, while in Arkansas it’s as low as $42.63.

The items in the basket varied slightly state to state, but the shopping list generally included the turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk.

Nationally, the average cost has hovered around $49 since 2011 and is cheaper, adjusted for inflation, today than it was when AFBF began tracking it in 1986.

Of course, food prices are notoriously volatile — so much so that whenever the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its latest inflation numbers, it also includes an alternative that leaves out energy and food prices. And food price hikes have been accelerating lately.

“Food prices have also been rising faster than in earlier years, and food price inflation has easily outpaced price inflation for many other types of goods,” Department of Agriculture economist Richard Volpe wrote in August, relying on far more scientific data. From 2006 to 2012, food prices as measured by the all-foods Consumer Price Index have risen nearly 20 percent. The overall CPI (a basket of all kinds of goods) rose just 14 percent.

State Arizona Arkansas Indiana Missouri Texas Virginia Wisconsin National
Totals $48.63 $42.63 $48.12 $48.61 $48.08 $50.01 $48.40 $49.04
Turkey (16 lbs.) $20.80 $15.59 $23.04 $20.96 $24.35 $22.40 $21.76
Stuffing $2.95 $2.41 $2.62 $2.73 $2.91 $2.75 $2.67
Pie mix (usually canned, pumpkin) $3.23 $3.09 $3.07 $3.12 $2.91 $3.10
Pie shells $2.15 $2.22 $2.34 $2.41 $2.01 $2.29 $2.49
Sweet potatoes $4.05 $2.50 $2.97 $2.70 $2.80 $2.88 $3.36
Rolls $1.97 $1.82 $1.83 $2.28 $2.59 $2.10 $2.18
Peas $1.55 $1.17 $1.40 $1.48 $1.19 $1.63 $1.54
Carrots and celery $1.08 $2.73 $0.83 $2.76 $0.69 $0.81
Milk (Gallon) $2.83 $4.00 $2.76 $3.80 $3.65 $3.67 $3.66
Cranberries $2.59 $2.13 $2.44 $1.35 $2.99 $2.30 $2.42
Whipping cream $2.28 $1.76 $1.62 $1.41 $1.64 $1.58 $1.85
Misc. $3.15 $3.20 $3.20 $8.96 $3.20 $3.20