For nearly four centuries, Americans have celebrated ceremonies giving thanks.
Since the Pilgrims celebrated a bountiful harvest four centuries ago, Thanksgiving has ballooned into a national holiday filled with feasting, families and fanatical shoppers.
Here are some facts on Thanksgiving you can chew on while you try to avoid ruffling too many relatives’ feathers.
The number of places in the U.S. named after the holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey Creek, La. (with 440 residents), Turkey, Texas (424), Turkey, N.C. (295) and Turkey Creek, Ariz. (294).
Number of places in the U.S. that are named Cranberry or some spelling variation of the acidic red berry, including Cranbury, N.J., Cranberry Township (Butler County), Pa., and Cranberry township (Venango County), Pa.
Number of places and townships in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous, with 71,561 residents in 2011; Plymouth, Mass., had 56,767.
The number of grocery stores in the United States in 2010. These establishments are expected to be extremely busy around Thanksgiving, as people prepare for their delightful meals.
The number of baked goods stores in the United States in 2010 — a potential place to visit to purchase refreshing desserts.
The value of U.S. imports of live turkeys from January through July of 2012, with 99.8 percent of them coming from Canada. When it comes to sweet potatoes, the Dominican Republic was the source of 45.3 percent (2.5 million) of total imports ($5.6 million). The United States ran a $9.1 million trade deficit in live turkeys during the period but had a surplus of $40.6 million in sweet potatoes.
The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2012. Wisconsin is estimated to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 450 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (estimated at 210 million).
New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are also estimated to have substantial production, ranging from 14 to 54 million pounds.
The total weight of sweet potatoes — another popular Thanksgiving side dish — produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2011. North Carolina (1.3 billion pounds) produced more sweet potatoes than any other state.
Total production of pumpkins in the major pumpkin-producing states in 2011. Illinois led the country by producing an estimated 520 million pounds of the vined orange gourd.
The forecasted total volume of wheat — the essential ingredient of bread, rolls and pie crust — produced in the United States in 2012. Kansas, Montana and North Dakota accounted for an estimated 40 percent of the nation’s wheat production.
The 2012 contracted production of snap (green) beans in the United States. Of this total, Wisconsin led all states (309,010 tons).
The number of turkeys expected to be raised in the United States in 2012. That is up 2 percent from the number raised during 2011.
The estimate of turkeys Minnesota expects to raise in 2012. The Gopher State was tops in turkey production, followed by North Carolina (36 million), Arkansas (29 million), Missouri (18 million), Virginia (17 million) and Indiana (17 million). These six states together account for about two-thirds of U.S. turkeys produced in 2012.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.