Where Does Your Thanksgiving Dinner Come From?

Updated on September 13, 2019
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

Ever wonder why we eat certain foods at Thanksgiving and where they originate from?
Ever wonder why we eat certain foods at Thanksgiving and where they originate from? | Source

Your Thanksgiving dinner comes from states all over the map and did not originate in your local grocery store. It is very interesting to know where each food comes from before it ends up on your dinner table.

When you eat your dinner, you are connecting with people throughout the United States by eating products grown in their state.

Your Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece likely hails from North Carolina.
Your Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece likely hails from North Carolina. | Source

Turkey Hails From North Carolina

You probably will have a turkey as the main meat on your table, even though cornish hens and ducks are also alternatives. More than likely, your turkey is a Butterball from Mt. Olive, North Carolina where they are very popular. However, Minnesota is the highest producers of turkeys in the United States. That state raises about 49 million turkeys a year. One of them might end up on your table this Thanksgiving.

Six states that produce turkeys in the United States.

  1. Minnesota
  2. North Carolina
  3. Arkansas
  4. Virginia
  5. Missouri
  6. Indiana

Is It Stuffing or Dressing?

If you put your mixture inside the cavity of the turkey, then it is stuffing because you stuffed it inside the bird.

If you keep your mixture outside the bird, then it is dressing.

That should end the debate about what to call the side dish.

Mashed potatoes are Thanksgiving classic.
Mashed potatoes are Thanksgiving classic. | Source

Potatoes Are Mostly Grown in Idaho

Whether you use white potatoes to make potato salad or mashed potatoes, know that the potatoes were probably grown in Idaho even though you bought them from your local supermarket.

Here are some interesting facts about the potatoes that usually end up in a dish for your Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Potatoes remain the top vegetable crop in the United States.
  • Potatoes are grown commercially in 30 states.
  • Idaho grows more potatoes than any other state.
  • Potatoes are also grown in Washington, Wisconsin, Colorado and North Dakota.

What's Thanksgiving dinner without green bean casserole?
What's Thanksgiving dinner without green bean casserole? | Source

Green Beans Are Likely From Wisconsin

A lot of people include a green beans casserole on their Thanksgiving menu. More than likely the green beans came from Wisconsin because that state produces more green beans than other states.

The casserole is easy to make with just three ingredients. It contains green beans, cream of mushroom soup and French fried onions.

Brussel sprouts are often grown in Washington.
Brussel sprouts are often grown in Washington. | Source

Brussel Sprouts Are Grown in Washington or California

Some cooks like to include Brussels sprouts as their vegetable. If so, they probably came from California even though a great number of Brussel sprouts are grown in Skagit County, Washington and not in Brussels.

Cranberries for the sauce are likely grown in Wisconsin.
Cranberries for the sauce are likely grown in Wisconsin.

The Cranberries Will Probably Be From Wisconsin

Wisconsin grows more cranberries than any other state in the nation. So, it is highly possible that the cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving dinner table contains cranberries that came from that state.

Even though most cranberries come from Wisconsin, it is not the only state that produces them.

States that produce cranberries:

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Washington
  4. Oregon

Cranberries are grown in natural wetlands because they need a lot of water. Also, during the long, cold winter months, cranberries need to be dormant. Therefore, the southern region of the United States is ideal for cranberry farming.

Sweet Potatoes Could Be From South or North Carolina

Sweet potatoes are popular in the South. They could come from South Carolina or North Carolina. Sweet potatoes can be made in a sweet potato casserole, candied yams, or sweet potato pie. If you make a sweet potato casserole, make sure to put marshmallows on top of it.

Pumpkins for your pie are likely grown in Illinois.
Pumpkins for your pie are likely grown in Illinois. | Source

Illinois Is the Nation's Top Pumpkin Grower

If you use pumpkin from a can for your pumpkin pie, it probably came from Illinois, the nation’s top pumpkin grower.

The top pumpkin-producing states include the following:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • California.

Pecan pie is another popular Thanksgiving pie.
Pecan pie is another popular Thanksgiving pie. | Source

Pecans for the Pie Are From Georgia

The pecans in your pecan pie probably were grown in Georgia and distributed in the United States. Georgia has the humidity and heat needed for an ideal condition for pecans.

Pecans are also produced in 14 other states. However, most of them are grown in Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas.

Even though there might be other pies on the table, the pecan pie is a favorite for lots of people. Other pies include sweet potato pies, pumpkin pies, and apple pies.

Which pie do you enjoy on Thanksgiving Day?

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Did this article contain most of the foods you have on your Thanksgiving table?

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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Happy Thanksgiving, MsDora! Enjoy your time wherever you are. Thanks for reading and commenting on my article.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      This year, I'll be blessed to have Thanksgiving Dinner in the pecan state, but I will remember to give thanks for the other states as well. Thank you for the very interesting roundup of contributors. The pictures of those pies are so inviting.


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