So perhaps it’s fitting that most of the food we will enjoy on Thursday didn’t make its way to our dinner tables from Massachusetts.
Fans of pumpkin pie can credit Illinois, the nation’s largest pumpkin-producing state . (Libby’s, the best-known maker of pumpkin pie filling, was founded in Chicago in the late 1800s.) Wisconsin is the country’s largest cranberry producer ; the state grows more than half the nation’s tart berries, according to the USDA. For potato lovers, there’s no better state than Idaho, which grew almost a quarter of the nation’s tubers last year, according to the National Potato Council . Georgia produces more than 40 percent of the country’s pecans.
But what would Thanksgiving be without the turkey? In a 2004 Gallup survey, 49 percent of Americans said turkey was their favorite Thanksgiving dish. Stuffing came in a distant second place, at 14 percent.
And no one does turkey better than North Carolina and Minnesota, which are home to the nation’s two largest turkey producers: Butterball’s headquarters are in Garner, N.C.; Jennie-O is based in Willmar, Minn. Together, those two companies produce about a third of all the turkeys sold in the United States. Minnesota produced 46 million turkeys valued at $839 million in 2012, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center at Iowa State University. North Carolina raised fewer birds, 36 million, but they weighed more than Minnesota’s, netting the industry $849 million.
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