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Be Thankful for Farmers

As you gather with family this holiday season, what will be on your holiday table? Whether you enjoy turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, or cranberries, Wisconsin farmers have you covered!

In many cases, the main course of a holiday dinner is protein. At my family’s holiday table, we often have turkey and ham (because my sister doesn't like ham, so we have to have both). Wisconsin ranks sixteenth in turkey production and Barron County is where most of them reside. When it comes to pork production, Wisconsin ranks eighteenth and, in 2019, hog inventory totaled 365,000 head. No matter how you slice it, pork and turkey are both excellent sources of protein and provide several important vitamins and minerals. Wisconsin farmers are working all year round to care for their livestock to supply our communities with high-quality products.

The side dishes of a holiday meal are often the part of the meal (my brother-in-law) looked forward to the most. As soon as the pan of hot mashed potatoes hits the table, it is a mad dash for the spoon. Wisconsin ranks third in the nation for potato production. Depending on the weather, Wisconsin Potato Farmers will harvest anywhere from 25 million to 28 million cwt. of potatoes annually. Potatoes are packed full of potassium and fiber, making them an excellent choice for your dinner plate. The majority of the nutrients in a potato are found within the potato itself and not just in the skin, making mashed or baked potatoes the perfect option for holiday feasting. Don’t forget to top your potatoes with an ample amount of butter, sour cream, and cheese.

Just because it is a holiday doesn’t mean you can skip your vegetables! Fertile soils and ideal growing conditions make Wisconsin a vegetable powerhouse. Wisconsin is the nation’s top producer of green beans, growing more than 37 percent of the nation’s beans in 2019. Make sure to support Wisconsin’s vegetable farms by piling your plate with fresh Wisconsin corn, carrots, green beans, and peas.

Desserts are, by far, one of my favorite things to eat around the holidays. From cookies and cakes to pies and puddings, I will try it all and there is plenty of opportunities to include Wisconsin products into the final meal of the day. With Wisconsin’s plentiful summers, the options for holiday baking are endless. This holiday season, I encourage you to add local Wisconsin apples, strawberries, cranberries, cherries, and other Wisconsin-grown products into your favorite recipes or try a lemon sour cream pie using real Wisconsin dairy products.

Wisconsin agriculture has you covered for all your holiday meal needs, from the main course to dessert. While meal planning and shopping for ingredients, I encourage you to use local Wisconsin products. Buying Wisconsin’s safe, nutritious food products supports farmers and food processors and contributes to the economic strength of Wisconsin communities.

I am so thankful we have such hard-working farmers here in Wisconsin to provide us with high-quality and delicious options to fill our tables.


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