We’re close enough to count the hours until the big meal of the year…Thanksgiving. The weather here in Middle Tennessee will be terrific for the grand gathering…partly sunny with the afternoon high in the upper 60s. Well above average for this time of year.
I think we can all agree that the weather impacts the way you feel. But did you know that it can also effect the Thanksgiving meal? Yes it can, from the turkey to the cranberry sauce to the sweet potato casserole. I have been gathering some fun facts about food and the weather.
Turkeys are hearty little creatures. They are able to survive sub-zero temperatures. Wild Turkeys live in some of the chilliest parts of the United States. As a matter of fact, during spells of wintry weather, turkeys can settle in roosting areas without food for up to two weeks, able to survive losing up to 40% of their body weight! Snow presents the biggest problem. It’s hard for them to forage for food in more than 6″ of snow.
My daughters favorite side is cranberry sauce or salad. A sunny year can mean bigger cranberries on your table! Cranberries don’t like temperatures over 85°F, so they are found in more moderate climate zones. You usually don’t find them much farther south than New Jersey.
Illinois is the leading producer of US pumpkins. But we know they are abundant in Middle Tennessee. When my kiddos were younger we were regulars at Grant’s Farm in Franklin. Too much rain can cause pumpkin crops to rot and make them more susceptible to infection and disease. Dry, hot weather can also cause a smaller pumpkin harvest. Lack of water during droughts can also result in smaller and lighter-weight pumpkins.
One of my favorites is sweet potatoes. Our neighboring state to the east, North Carolina is the leading producer of US sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes thrive in warmer weather, needing a long frost-free season to reach full maturity. Heavy rain can be a problem for them as it can prevent sweet potato roots from forming properly or may cause the potatoes to split.
May you and your family and/or friends have a wonderful time together this Thanksgiving where ever you may be. We can all be thankful for good weather for the occasion and good weather that produced the food we are enjoying. God bless.
Thanks to my friends at NEEP for help with the weather/food facts.