Friday, April 13, 2007
Thanksgiving Fun Facts and Statistics
Thanksgiving Day
Nov. 23, 2006

What many regard as the nation’s first Thanksgiving took place in December 1621 as the religious separatist Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. It eventually became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.

265 million
The preliminary estimate of turkeys raised in the United States in 2006. That’s up 3 percent from 2005. The turkeys produced in 2005 together weighed 7.2 billion pounds and were valued at $3.2 billion. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service at <http://www.nass.usda.gov/>)

Weighing in With a Menu of Culinary Delights
45 million

The preliminary estimate of turkeys Minnesota expects to raise in 2006. The Gopher State is tops in turkey production. It is followed by North Carolina (37 million), Arkansas (30 million), Virginia (22.5 million), Missouri (21.5 million) and California (16 million). These six states together will probably account for about 65 percent of U.S. turkeys produced in 2006. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service at <http://www.nass.usda.gov/>)

664 million pounds
The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2006, up 6 percent from 2005. Wisconsin is expected to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 375 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (175 million). New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are also expected to have substantial production, ranging from 16 million to 49 million pounds. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service at <http://www.nass.usda.gov/>)

1.6 billion pounds
The total weight of sweet potatoes — another popular Thanksgiving side dish — produced in the United States in 2005. North Carolina (595 million pounds) produced more sweet potatoes than any other state. It was followed by California (351 million pounds). Mississippi and Louisiana also produced large amounts: at least 200 million pounds each. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service at <http://www.nass.usda.gov/>)

1.1 billion pounds
Total production of major pumpkin-producing states in 2005. Illinois led the country by producing 497 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, Ohio and Pennsylvania also provided lots of pumpkins: each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all the pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $106 million. <http://www.nass.usda.gov/>

If you prefer cherry pie, you will be pleased to learn that the nation’s forecasted tart cherry production for 2006 totals 256 million pounds. Of this total, the overwhelming majority (185 million) will be produced in Michigan. <http://www.nass.usda.gov/>)

1.8 billion bushels
The total volume of wheat — the essential ingredient of bread, rolls and pie crust — produced in the United States in 2006. Kansas and North Dakota — combined — accounted for 30 percent of the nation’s wheat production. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service at <http://www.nass.usda.gov/>)

768,000 tons
The 2006 contracted production of snap (green) beans for processing. Of this total, Wisconsin led all states (305,000 tons). Many Americans consider green bean casserole a traditional Thanksgiving dish. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service at <http://www.nass.usda.gov/>)

3 million tons
The 2006 contracted production of sweet corn for processing. Minnesota, with 924,000 tons, led the nation. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service at <http://www.nass.usda.gov/>)

$5.7 million
The value of U.S. imports of live turkeys during the first half of 2006 — 96 percent from Canada. Our northern neighbor accounted for all of the cranberries the United States imported ($1.3 million). When it comes to sweet potatoes, however, the Dominican Republic was the source of 86 percent ($2.5 million) of total imports ($3 million). The United States ran a $900,000 trade deficit in live turkeys over the period, but surpluses of $4.9 million in cranberries and $16.5 million in sweet potatoes. <http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/www/>

13.4 pounds
The quantity of turkey consumed by the typical American in 2004 with a hearty helping devoured at Thanksgiving time. Per capita sweet potato consumption was 4.7 pounds. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007.)

The Turkey Industry
$3.6 billion
The value of turkeys shipped in 2002. Arkansas led the way in turkey shipments, with $581.5 million, followed by Virginia ($544.2 million) and North Carolina ($453.0 million). Businesses that primarily processed turkeys operated out of 35 establishments, employing about 17,000 people. <http://www.census.gov/prod/ec02/ec0231i311615.pdf>

The Price is Right
$1.07

Cost per pound of a frozen whole turkey in December 2005. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007.)

Where to Feast
3

Number of places in the United States named after the holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey, Texas, was the most populous in 2005, with 492 residents; followed by Turkey Creek, La. (357); and Turkey, N.C. (269). There also are nine townships around the country named “Turkey,” three in Kansas. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/007001.html> and <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet>

8
Number of places and townships in the United States that are named “Cranberry” or some spelling variation of the name we call the red, acidic berry (e.g., Cranbury, N.J.), a popular side dish at Thanksgiving. <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet>

28
Number of places in the United States named Plymouth, as in “Plymouth Rock,” legendary location of the first Thanksgiving. Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous, with 69,701 residents in 2005; Plymouth, Mass., had 54,923. Speaking of Plymouth Rock, there is just one township in the United States named “Pilgrim.” Located in Dade County, Mo., its population was 135. <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/007001.html> and <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet>

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posted by Dave Richards at 12:06 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Thanksgiving Turkey Trivia
A long-time centerpiece of American holiday feasts, the turkey has a colorful and delicious history. Here are some intriguing facts about our nation's favorite bird, that you may not know:

- Turkeys originated in North and Central America, and evidence indicates that they have been around for over 10 million years.

- Until 1863, Thanksgiving Day had not been celebrated annually since the first feast in 1621. This changed in 1863 when Sarah Josepha Hale encouraged Abraham Lincoln to set aside the last Thursday in November "as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer."

- In Mexico, the turkey was considered a sacrificial bird.

- Domesticated turkeys (farm raised) cannot fly. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances at up to 55 miles per hour. Wild turkeys are also fast on the ground, running at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.

- Only male turkeys (toms) gobble. Females (hens) make a clicking noise. The gobble is a seasonal call during the spring and fall. Hens are attracted for mating when a tom gobbles. Wild toms love to gobble when they hear loud sounds or settle in for the night.

- The heaviest turkey ever raised weighed in at 86 pounds -- about the size of a large German Shepherd -- and was grown in England, according to Dr. Sarah Birkhold, poultry specialist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

- Mature turkeys have 3,500 or so feathers. The Apache Indians considered the turkey timid and wouldn't eat it or use its feathers on their arrows.

- More than 45 million turkeys are cooked and 525 million pounds of turkey are eaten during Thanksgiving.

- Ninety percent of American homes eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Fifty percent eat turkey on Christmas.

- North Carolina produces 61 million turkeys annually, more than any other state. Minnesota and Arkansas are number two and three.

- Benjamin Franklin, the great American statesman, thought the turkey was so American it should have been chosen as our national symbol rather than the eagle.

- The fleshy growth from the base of the beak, which is very long on male turkeys and hangs down over the beak, is called the snood.

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posted by Dave Richards at 11:34 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Happy Thanksgiving Wishes
Thanksgiving is a time for sharing and spreading happiness and thanking everyone for Its a time to show gratitude and a time to thanks your Friends, family and relatives who have stood by you its is a season to be spent with all those we love... family/ friends/ beloved, savoring the good times of togetherness with sumptuous feasts and delectable desserts ! Wish all your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving with our range of online Thanksgiving Wishes.

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posted by Dave Richards at 11:33 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
History Of American Thanksgiving
Ask any child what’s the Thanksgiving story and you would instantly know that Thanksgiving started with the Pilgrims coming to Plymouth, Massachusetts long long ago. This ‘long long ago’ is the year 1620, but who were the ‘Pilgrims’ ? Why did they come ? What did they do ? Well, before you get totally fazed out, here’s the Thanksgiving story for you:

The ‘Pilgrims’ are as much associated with Thanksgiving as Santa is to Christmas. In 1609, a group of Puritans, who called themselves ‘Separatists’ fled England, unable to conform to the English Church and the religious persecutions prevailing in England. They then moved to Holland and lived there for quite a few years until they could manage to finance a trip to the New World. In 1620, they set sail for the New World in a ship called the Mayflower and on reaching their destination, they settled in a town called Plymouth, Massachusetts. And yes, it is precisely because of this that the town Plymouth is so closely associated with the Thanksgiving holiday ! And, every year during this Thanksgiving season, numerous people visit this town and make their own pilgrimages to check out where the Thanksgiving holiday began.

Now the first winter of the Separatists, more popularly the Pilgrims was so severe that only a handful of them survived the harsh, adverse and merciless winter months in Plymouth. After a phase of intense hunger, malady and declining hopes, a Native American named Squanto, who knew English well, brought back better days for the Pilgrims. He taught them how to plant different crops on their soil and various other ways of planting and harvest. The results of this were far-out—the Pilgrims had a first-rate, bountiful harvest in the following autumn. They had surplus food for the winter and learnt the ways of survival in the New World. The governor of the Pilgrims, William Bradford, then sought it best to celebrate their survival and glory with a sumptuous feast. So a grand feast followed and the Natives were also invited to be a part of their jubilation. The story goes as this that the feast continued for three days and was marked by wholesome recreation and entertainment.

This three-day feast held at Plymouth in 1621 by the Pilgrims (the colonists) and the Native Americans is often referred to as “The First Thanksgiving”. However, it is not known whether the Pilgrims called this a Thanksgiving celebration. They were, of course, thankful for the sudden change in their fortune, for their bountiful harvest, for the help they got from their Native American friends and many more; but in all probability, they did not observe this feast as a Thanksgiving feast. To these colonists, Thanksgiving meant the end of a period of fasting and prayer—a very solemn and sober occasion. Therefore, the grand and gala feast of 1621 was totally befitting to the Thanksgiving conventions of these Pilgrims.

Also, this feast was not repeated next year. So obviously it can’t be called the start of the Thanksgiving tradition. But two years later, in the year 1623, the Pilgrims or the English settlers again went through a bad patch due to a long drought and assembled to pray for the rains. Strikingly enough, it poured heavily the very next day and the Pilgrims felt the need to observe a real thanksgiving day to pay tribute and show their thankfulness to the divine forces ! This can be called the first thanksgiving, in the true sense of the term, from which the modern-day Thanksgiving germinated. And it is from this that the custom of associating good fortune with Thanksgiving spread like wildfire throughout New England.

Now, setting up a date for Thanksgiving was not easy. In the colonial times, Thanksgiving days were declared by the colonial governments and the churches in order to mark any special event or achievement or just to express thankfulness to the Almighty after some disaster. Then Thanksgiving came to be proclaimed by national leaders of the new United States of America to commemorate their military victory or triumph over any difficult situation. In 1777, during the American Revolution, the Continental Army led by General George Washington, stopped in the bitter chill of the Valley Forge to observe a day of Thanksgiving, which marked the nation’s victory at the Battle of Saratoga. This was America’s first Thanksgiving. Then in 1789, after being US’s first President, Washington declared November 26 of the running year as a national day of Thanksgiving.

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posted by Dave Richards at 11:30 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments