How to Source a MI GREAT Thanksgiving Dinner!
By Kassie Acker, 2023 Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT Ambassador
Why is Thanksgiving one of the best holidays? The vast dinner table filled with delicious food, of course!
There are a wide variety of items than can be found in a Thanksgiving dinner, and as residents of Michigan, the 2nd most agriculturally diverse state, there are countless options to source products for your festive meal! Continue reading to find where to source a GREAT Thanksgiving dinner.
Turkey Day would not be complete without a turkey for dinner! Did you know that Michigan ranks 10th in the United States in production of turkeys? There are around 50 turkey farmers and Michigan and their toms (males) get sent to Michigan Turkey Producers, a grower-owned cooperative, to be processed. A majority of the turkeys processed in Michigan are used for deli cases and ready-to-cook bags with the brand Golden Legacy. If you only need certain cuts or smaller portions of turkey, this could be a great option for you dinner. Turkeys can also be sold to smaller processors that produce whole turkeys. Searching for a small processor may help you find a classic, whole Michigan GROWN turkey to serve for Thanksgiving.
Some of the best Thanksgiving side dishes come from potatoes! Whether you are making mashed, baked, scalloped, roasted, potatoes or throwing them in a salad, there are endless ways to use potatoes for your meal. Potatoes are the second most grown produce item in Michigan, so check your local stores for the “Michigan Potatoes” when purchasing a bag of potatoes. Also, potatoes can be found at farmers markets or farm stands.
During the fall months, cranberries are being harvested in the state of Michigan. There are nearly 800 acres for cranberry production in Michigan. Typically, the local cranberry crop is turned into processed items, like sauce or juice, and can be found at major retailers. Many of our farmers ship their cranberries to Ocean Spray to be processed, transported across the state, and are then put on store shelves. Whether you make your cranberry sauce from scratch or serve it out of a can, Michigan can provide you with your cranberry needs.
Save room for dessert! Michigan grows several different crops that can be added into pies. Apples, pumpkins, and tart cherries all make tasty filling. Michigan ranks 1st in the United States for the production of tart cherries, 3rd in apple production, and 4th for pumpkins. These products can be purchased fresh or processed in stores. Fresh produce can also be found at farm stands or farmers markets. Frozen Michigan tart cherries can also be purchased online from various local orchards. The options for dessert are endless when it comes to Michigan’s fruits and gourds!
No pie is complete without sugar! The Michigan Sugar Company is a grower-owned cooperative that works with the sugar beet growers of Michigan. Once the beets are harvested, they are processed into sugar and sold under the brand Pioneer Sugar. Pioneer sugar can be found at major retailers like Kroger. Add this locally grown, locally grown all natural product to your desserts to make this Thanksgiving a little sweeter!
Give thanks and support this season to our food growers by purchasing Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT products!
Kassie Acker is a 2023 Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT Ambassador. She is a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources Education with minors in Agribusiness Management, Agronomy, and Environmental Studies & Sustainability. Kassie is also serving as the 2023 Michigan Sugar Queen through the Michigan SugarCompany.