Talk Turkey Before Thanksgiving Day

    25 November, 2013


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.

    On Thursday, most Americans will gather around a table with family and friends to give thanks. Traditionally, a turkey is at the center of the table on Thanksgiving Day.

    Turkeys are grown in many areas across the United States. Last year, near 70 percent of the birds came from one of seven states: they were Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri, Indiana and California. And estimated forty-six million turkeys were raised in Minnesota.

    The United States Department of Agriculture says 253 million turkeys were raised from January 2013 through September. There is a pleasant surprise about the cost of serving a turkey meal this month.

    Each year, the American Farm Bureau Federation prepares a study of the prices and sales of foods served on Thanksgiving. The group says the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for ten people this year is forty-nine dollars and four cents. That is forty-four cents less than last year.

    Scott Aronson of Maryland says he had to buy a large turkey because of all the people coming to his home on Thanksgiving day.

    "Each year we celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family. This year we will be hosting 16 people with a 23 pound turkey."

    Some Americans like to purchase their turkey directly from a farm. This can cost more than buying one at store. Nicole Roza said it is worth the extra money because Thanksgiving comes just once a year. Last year, she spent 70 dollars for a 7 kilogram farm turkey. Some people may choose to buy a turkey directly from a farm, because they are told what the turkeys have been feed.

    Polyface Farm in Virginia Shenandoah Valley, for example, says its turkeys are raised on pasture, that lets the animals eat many kinds of grasses and other bird feed. In addition, they eat oats, corn and whole roasted soybeans. This year, Polyface Farm has already presold about 12 hundred turkeys. The orders come from restaurants, small businesses, farm customers and other buyers.

    Many countries have a smaller supply of turkeys than the United States, or perhaps, they have none of the birds. Turkeys do not grow in some parts of Africa for example. And in other areas, the animals can be very costly. A precooked, ready-to-serve turkey can cost as much as 100 dollars in places like Singapore.

    And that's the Agriculture Report from VOA Special English. I'm Jerilyn Watson.