As you begin to shop for your Thanksgiving feast this year, we encourage you to think for a minute about the journey your food has taken. You will find much of the traditional Thanksgiving meal began its journey on a farm right here in Arkansas.
Arkansas is number three in the nation in turkey production. And we are the sixth largest producer in the United States of sweet potatoes.
Our farmers also have a hand in the pecan and pumpkin pies. We are one of thirteen states in the nation to grow pecans. And while we are proud to be home to many pumpkin patches across the state, we do not produce enough to support every supermarket. Arkansas pumpkins however can be found at your local farmers markets or pumpkin patch.
Although few go shopping for actual soybeans for Thanksgiving, there is a very good chance the soybean plays a significant part in your feast. This year Arkansas achieved its highest average soybean yield in history, securing our rank as 10th in the nation in soybean production.
Soybean oil is used in cooking and frying foods. Margarine is a product made from soybean oil. Salad dressings and mayonnaises are made with soybean oil. It is also used for animal feed for farm animals.
For those Arkansans who do not live on a farm or have relatives who are farmers, we encourage you to reconnect your children with the origin of food. Visiting a farm can build a conceptual understanding of food sources, while also providing an opportunity to form healthy eating habits.
This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for our farmers. They are the backbone to our economy.
Farmers contribute to our overall welfare in more ways than society knows. They produce valuable goods, conserve soil, conserve water, and open space.
So this holiday season, thank a farmer. And look for the “Arkansas Grown” label at your local supermarket as another way to show your appreciation.
– Weekly Column from the Arkansas House