Thanksgiving Favorites A Challenge to Grow in Missouri

Turkey, sweet potatoes and pecans more common on farms.

Published on: Nov 28, 2013

Cranberries, sweet potatoes and pecans are all favorite Thanksgiving foods that can successfully be grown in Missouri according to Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Many consider cranberries to be an essential part of Thanksgiving. Cranberries are native to North America and are often found in bogs or other areas where the growing conditions are moist but well drained.

"Today cranberries are commercially grown in bogs, where the plants are submerged under water when the berries are ripe, the plants are combed, and the floating berries are harvested," said Byers.

Sweet potatoes also grace many Thanksgiving tables. They are native of tropical America: Caribbean islands, central and south America. Sweet potatoes are also very common in Missouri gardens.

TABLE TRIMMINGS: Missourians will celebrate this Thanksgiving with some homegrown favorites. The state is fourth in turkey production, but growers also raise pecans, sweet potatoes and cranberries.
TABLE TRIMMINGS: Missourians will celebrate this Thanksgiving with some homegrown favorites. The state is fourth in turkey production, but growers also raise pecans, sweet potatoes and cranberries.

"Sweet potatoes are dug before frost, and are in prime condition to bake or boil at Thanksgiving," said Byers. "Orange flesh types are excellent sources of beta carotene."

Celebrate Thanksgiving with Missouri-grown pecans and turkeys

Pecan pie is also a favorite way to conclude the Thanksgiving feast and pecans are also native to Missouri. The tree is found in lowlands, but grows best in well drained soils.

"Pecans begin to fall in late October, and can be cracked and kept in the freezer," said Byers. "Pecans are an excellent source of antioxidants, may help lower cholesterol levels, and can help preserve memory."

But it is not just the side dishes and desserts that can be produced in the state. Missouri turkeys are also on the table.

Missouri ranks fourth in turkey production at 17.5 million head behind Minnesota, North Carolina and Arkansas. The top 13 turkey producing states account for 84% of the total turkey production in the U.S.

With turkey being the center of attention this holiday season, it is important to cook the bird correctly. Here are tips from the University of Missouri Extension on turkey preparation and storage this season.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Source: University of Missouri Extension