Giving thanks to North Carolina Farms for our Thanksgiving feast

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2023

By Shelby Carroll

As Thanksgiving approaches, we begin to gather around the dinner table with family and friends to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. But have you ever stopped to think about where all that delicious food on your table comes from? The answer can be found right here in North Carolina, a state known for its rich agricultural landscape. Every year, North Carolina farms play a vital role in providing us with the fresh, high-quality ingredients that make our Thanksgiving feast so special. From the turkey and vegetables to the fruits and grains, every ingredient represents the hard work and dedication of farmers. Without their labor and commitment, our feast would not be possible. So let’s take a moment to give thanks to these hardworking farmers who make our holiday celebration possible.

North Carolina is known for its diverse agricultural production, which allows for a wide variety of crops to be grown. The famous sweet potato is a very popular item grown in North Carolina. Over 84,000 acres were harvested in 2022 making North Carolina first in the U.S in sweet potato production. But it’s not just the produce that North Carolina farms contribute to. They also raise livestock, such as turkeys and hogs, which become the centerpieces of our holiday meals. North Carolina produced 28,000,000 turkeys in 2022. This makes us second in the U.S. for turkey production.

As we begin to celebrate our Thanksgiving dinner traditions, it’s important to not only appreciate the hard work of our North Carolina farmers but also consider the future of farming in our state. Sustainability is a crucial aspect of farming, ensuring that we can continue to enjoy a bountiful harvest for years to come. Farmers are increasingly implementing sustainable practices such as crop rotation, conservation tillage and organic farming methods to minimize the impact on the environment and preserve the health of our soils. Additionally, advancements in technology are being embraced by farmers to optimize water usage, reduce waste and increase efficiency. These innovations are essential in overcoming the challenges of a changing climate and a growing population. By supporting local farms and advocating for sustainable agriculture, we can help secure the future of farming in North Carolina, ensuring that generations to come can experience the joy of a Thanksgiving feast sourced from our own communities.

Shelby Carroll is agriculture and natural resources agent with the Rowan County Extension.

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