November 26, 2009
Posted: 08:37 AM ET
From U.S. Census Bureau:
Historians have also recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Virginia in 1619.
The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event 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.
250 million: The preliminary estimate of turkeys raised in the United States in 2009. That’s down 8 percent from the number raised during 2008. The turkeys produced in 2008 together weighed 7.9 billion pounds and were valued at $4.5 billion.
45.5 million: The preliminary estimate of turkeys Minnesota expected to raise in 2009. The Gopher State was tops in turkey production, followed by North Carolina (37.5 million), Arkansas (28 million), Missouri (21 million), Virginia (16.4 million) and California (15 million). These six states together would probably account for about two-thirds of U.S. turkeys produced in 2009.
709 million pounds: The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2009. Wisconsin is expected to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 400 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (190 million). New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are also expected to have substantial production, ranging from 16 million to 54 million pounds.
1.8 billion pounds: The total weight of sweet potatoes — another popular Thanksgiving side dish — produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2008. North Carolina (874 million pounds) produced more sweet potatoes than any other state. It was followed by California (437 million pounds) and Mississippi (335 million pounds).
1.1 billion pounds: Total production of pumpkins produced in the major pumpkin-producing states in 2008. Illinois led the country by producing 496 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, Pennsylvania and New York also provided lots of pumpkins: Each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $141 million.
If you prefer cherry pie, you will be pleased to learn that the nation’s forecasted tart cherry production for 2009 totals 284 million pounds. Of this total, the overwhelming majority (220 million) will be produced in Michigan.
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