It’s Truly a California Thanksgiving

California Growers and Ranchers Provide Nearly Everything On the Table

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

It’s truly a California Thanksgiving, as most of the products come from the growers and ranchers here.

Turkeys come from several areas of the state, and while California is No. 7 in turkey production, they do supply most of the western United States.

And the famous Mrs. Cubbison’s dressing comes from a California gal, Sophie Cubbison, who as born in 1890 in the San Marcos area of San Diego County. A long interesting story made short: In May of 1920, she graduated from California Polytechnical University with a degree in Home Economics. It was 1948 when she used broken pieces of the popular Melba toast and added seasoning to make stuffing. A factory in Commerce, CA, churns it this time of year.

And farmers in California also produce almonds, walnuts, pistachios, raisins, prunes, figs, dates, apricot, and pomegranates right up the food line.

Celery comes from the Oxnard and Ventura area, and the ingredients for the stuffing mix–carrots, lot of lettuce and fresh spinach–in Salinas now that they have all these greens, already washed and bagged in the produce department. The green beans come from California growers as well. c

You’ve got oranges, kiwi fruit, colorful persimmon fruit, table grapes, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries that have been freshly harvested from many areas of the state. You’ve got sweet potatoes from the Merced area. This is the major season for them. You’ve got all kinds and colors of potatoes and tomatoes and parsley, onions and garlic–all crops grown in California

Practically all the fruits and vegetables and nuts are part of America’s Thanksgiving, and nearly all of it comes from California. There is often a wide array of cheeses and that wonderful whip cream that comes from the California dairy industry—number one in the industry.

And don’t forget about the great variety of California wine grapes that are grown by California growers and then crafted into great California wine.

You’ve you have apples and those small round watermelons that are a great snack or dessert item as part of a fruit salad. And we have poultry, and even California lamb if you want to go that way.

And of course Martinelli Sparkling Apple or Grape cider from Watsonville. Local growers provide the tree-ripened fruit to the award-winning company, which is more than 140 years old and still family-owned and run by the founder’s grandson and a great-grandson.

In fact, it was 1890 when the company was award the first place at the California State Fair.

And by the way, you know that pop-up turkey timer that indicates when the turkey has reached the correct internal temperature? It was invented by public relations genius Leo Pearlstein, who handled promotions for the California Turkey Advisory Board for 25 years. Each Thanksgiving, hundreds of consumers would call to ask how long it takes to cook a turkey in the oven. In the 1960s, Pearlstein and a turkey producer from Turlock were sitting in a room trying to figure out the solution. They looked up and noticed the fire sprinklers in the ceiling.

Sprinkler water comes on when it is hot enough to melt a metal alloy. The same concept is used in the pop-up timer. Many turkey brands have the special pop-up timer included with them today.

With the exception of cranberries, it’s really a California Thanksgiving.

And we are grateful to all the California farmers and ranchers for providing so much for all of us this holiday and throughout the year.

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California Turkey Industry Enjoys Excellent Year

California Turkey Producers and Processors Offer Wide Variety to Consumers and Benefit From Steady High Prices

For the last two weeks, grocery store meat departments have been catering to consumers looking for the perfect turkey.

According to Bill Mattos, President of the Modesto-based California Poultry Federation, it has been a great year for California turkey producers:

“This is probably one of the best years for turkey in many, many years for the farmer and the processor. The consumer still gets a bargain every Thanksgiving even though prices this year are higher [as] there are less turkeys in the nation. California fresh turkey was sold out from our processors two weeks before Thanksgiving. So, we were urging everyone who wanted California fresh turkey to get their order in early, and they may still be able to do that. The California farmer is offering everything from fresh and natural to organic to free range; you can find just about everything in your supermarket. It will be a very good year for turkey, and it will be a good year for chickens coming up as well. We look forward to 2015 because we think it will be even better than 2014.”

Mattos said that the turkey industry was careful to avoid oversupply, “The turkey industry didn’t grow crazy, and prices stayed at a pretty good level. They didn’t all start growing like farmers do sometimes as they all get into the business when prices are good. Turkey farmers held back and kept their supply even; however,  with very high beef, pork and other meat prices at this time of year, people look at turkey and even chicken as a bargain.”

As we all sit around the table with friends and family this Thanksgiving, we can be thankful for the California turkey producers and processors, as well as the farmers and farm workers who provide so much for the seasonal meals.

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