When was the first Thanksgiving and other turkey-day trivia

Azindianlany/iStock/Getty Images Thanksgiving 2020 Turkey cute Coronavirus and yellow toilet paper
Which president proclaimed Thanksgiving a holiday? Which states are tops in turkey production?

Happy Thanksgiving.

Here's some Thanksgiving-related trivia for you.

Turkey meat production in the United States during January to September 2020 was 4.29 billion pounds, down about a percent from a year earlier.

Value of turkey production:

  • 2015: $5.71 billion
  • 2016: $6.18 billion
  • 2017: $4.87 billion
  • 2018: $3.79 billion
  • 2019: $4.30 billion

Top eight turkey-production states:

  1. Minnesota – 40.0 million birds
  2. North Carolina – 31.0 million birds
  3. Arkansas – 30.0 million birds
  4. Indiana - 20.0 million birds
  5. Missouri – 16.5 million birds
  6. Virginia - 16.0 million birds
  7. Iowa - 11.7 million birds
  8. California – 8.5 million birds

U.S. total turkey production: 229.0 million birds

U.S. turkey meat exports:

  • 2015: 529 million pounds
  • 2016: 569 million pounds
  • 2017: 622 million pounds
  • 2018: 611 million pounds
  • 2019: 639 million pounds
  • 2020: 558 million pounds (WASDE projection as of November 2020)

Retail prices for frozen whole turkey:  

  • 2015 average: $1.51 per pound
  • 2016 average: $1.55 per pound
  • 2017 average: $1.58 per pound
  • 2018 average: $1.50 per pound
  • 2019 average: $1.52 per pound

Where was the first Thanksgiving?

The first Thanksgiving is widely regarded as having taken place in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, between colonists and the Wampanoag tribe. Some historians argue that Florida may have been the true site of the first Thanksgiving in North America. In 1565, nearly 60 years before Plymouth, a Spanish fleet came ashore and planted a cross in the sandy beach to christen the new settlement of St. Augustine. To celebrate the arrival and give thanks for God’s providence, the 800 Spanish settlers shared a festive meal with the native Timucuan people.

When did Americans first call for a national Thanksgiving holiday?

Americans first called for a national day of thanksgiving to celebrate victory over the British in the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. George Washington again called for national day of thanks on the last Thursday of November to commemorate the end of the Revolutionary War and the ratification of the Constitution. And during the Civil War, both the Confederacy and the Union issued Thanksgiving Day proclamations following major victories.

Which president refused to recognize Thanksgiving?

Thomas Jefferson was the only Founding Father and early president who refused to declare days of thanksgiving and fasting in the United States.

When did the tradition of pardoning a turkey begin?

The tradition officially started in 1989 with President George H.W. Bush.

Was turkey on menu for the first Thanksgiving?

Turkey wasn't on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. Venison, duck, goose, oysters, lobster, eel and fish were likely served alongside pumpkins and cranberries.

Which president proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday?

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday on Oct. 3, 1863.

Sources: USDA, History.com, Worldstrides.com
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