Fun Facts and Trivia for Thanksgiving

Canadian Turkeys, carving the lobster and a turkey the size of a dog.


No need to worry about conversation topics around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Let your guests fill up on this Thanksgiving fun facts. 

  • That's a lot of turkey! In 2011, 248 million turkeys were estimated to be raised in the United States. That was up 2 percent from the number raised in 2010. The turkeys produced in 2010 weighed a combined 7.11 billion pounds and were valued at $4.37 billion. The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds. A turkey this size usually has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.
  • Talk about leftovers! The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
  • Maybe the "Gobbler" state is more appropriate. It may be called the "Gopher" state but Minnesota leads the way in turkey rearing, with a whopping 46.5 million turkeys taking residence up north. It is followed by North Carolina (30.0 million), Arkansas (30.0 million), Missouri (18.0 million), Virginia (17.5 million) and Indiana (16.0 million). These six states together accounted for about two-thirds of U.S. turkeys produced in 2011.
  • Canadian Turkeys. During the first half of 2011, the U.S. imported about $7.8 million worth of live turkeys from Canada. The United States ran a $3.6 million trade deficit in live turkeys during the period.
  • Really? That much? In 2009, the typical American gobbled up 13.3 pounds of turkey. Surprisingly, Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.
  • Sweet... All that turkey was accompanied by an average of 5.3 pounds of sweet potatoes per person. In 2010, major sweet potato producing states grew 2.4 billion pounds of this orange spud.
  • Food Findings. More than 90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day, 50% percent put their stuffing inside the turkey and more than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving.
  • Not a turkey in sight! Chances are, turkey, mashed potatoes and corn were nowhere near the first Thanksgiving table. The first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts featured lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast.
  • Mary Had a Little Turkey? Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor and author of the popular nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb", persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. President Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation' on October 3, 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
  • A turkey by any other name. A female turkey is called a hen and makes a clucking sound. A male turkey is know as a "Tom" and gobbles. At maturity, the average turkey shows off 3,500 feathers.
  • Flying the coop. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimated that 42.2 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2010.


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