Let’s Talk Turkey!

‘Tis the season for this noble animal, a true native American and Benjamin Franklin’s pick for national bird. A turkey is much more than just a yearly holiday roast, or the humble sliced lunchmeat on your club sandwich. This week we will examine some little known facts about the turkey to gobble up along with your Thanksgiving feast!

• According to the U.S. Census Bureau Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in America, with a planned production total of 46.5 million in 2011. Six states—Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, and Indiana—account for nearly two-thirds of the 248 million turkeys that will be raised in the U.S. this year.

• In a survey conducted by the National Turkey Federation nearly 88 percent of Americans said they eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds, which means some 690 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the U.S. during Thanksgiving in 2007.

• Three towns in the U.S. take their name from the traditional Thanksgiving bird, including Turkey, Texas (pop. 465); Turkey Creek, Louisiana (pop. 363); and Turkey, North Carolina (pop. 270).

• Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

• If Ben Franklin would have had his way, the turkey would be our national bird, not the eagle. Thomas Jefferson said No, and ever since, a male turkey is also known as a “Tom”.

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