Thanksgiving is this Thursday. We have just finished up the elections. Commodity prices could be better. We all need a break. So today, instead of some discussing some deep issue in agriculture or the latest problem, let’s take a break and focusing on something we can almost all agree on – Thanksgiving dinner. More specifically, as we celebrate, outside of the Independence Day, the most American of holidays, we did our feast really come from? With apologies for any family or regional traditions.
• Baked goods – The wheat in most of your bread and rolls comes from the Middle East via the Ukraine. Good old Turkey Red wheat brought over by in the 1870s.
• Potatoes – Your mashed potatoes originally came from Peru where they were domesticated around 7,000 years ago. Although there are wild relatives found from the United States south through South America.
• Sweet potatoes – Again Central or South America approximately 5,000 years ago.
• Corn – The corn on your table is thought to have originated in Mexico at about the same time as sweet potatoes. There is some dispute about exactly where.
• Green beans – Again this originates from Central/South America.
• Onions – A staple in many dishes, onions originated in central Asia although perhaps as far west as Iran.
• Apples - The apples in your All-American apple pie came from central Asia.
• Cherries – We’re not quite sure but maybe Asia Minor but maybe elsewhere in the Northern hemisphere. Luther Burbank produced the first hybrid cherry tree of what we this of as cherries today.
• Pumpkin – They are about 7,000 years old and thought to have originated in northern Mexico.
• Cranberries – A food that actually is native to the U.S. and used by early settlers.
• Ham – While not as popular as Turkey, that ham comes from pigs which originated from multiple places from different wild boar populations but ultimately central Asia.
• Turkey – The ultimate staple for Thanksgiving dinner actual is from here and was found throughout northern Mexico east through the Midwest up through southeastern Canada.
Of course there are different regional food associated with the holiday but that covers most of the basics. Interestingly enough, that most American of all feasts lacks many foods actually from our country. Here’s wishing everything a very Happy Thanksgiving.