Thank a farmer this Thanksgiving

Posted 11/21/23

America’s traditional Thanksgiving holiday meal will cost less than last year according to the 38th annual survey ...

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Thank a farmer this Thanksgiving


America’s traditional Thanksgiving holiday meal will cost less than last year according to the 38th annual American Farm Bureau survey.

South Florida families can be thankful that local vegetable and sugarcane farmers are harvesting fresh, sustainable local food crops for their holiday meals—growing nearly everything you need for your Thanksgiving meal here in the Glades except for the eggs and the turkeys. Crops grown in the EAA that may grace your family’s table this week include fresh sweet corn, green beans, lettuce, celery, radishes, rice, squash, and plenty of pure cane sugar for those delicious pies, cake, cookies, and other favorite holiday desserts. While consumers are seeing savings at the grocery store this year,Florida farmers continue to face constantly rising costs for almost all their crop inputs like fuel, labor, nutritional supplements and more,” Wedgworth said.   “Inflation is a huge factor on the farm, just like everywhere else--especially since the pandemic." On behalf of the Glades area farmers, our state and nation are fortunate that Florida farmers are resilient and proud to do their part to feed American families, particularly around the holiday season.

We hope all South Florida families have a blessed Thanksgiving and enjoy the bountiful foods our Glades farmers are sustainably growing and harvesting daily this week and throughout the coming months. According to the November 2023 survey released by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of the classic holiday feast for 10 people is $61.17, a 4.5% decrease from last year.  Their economist also noted that according to the USDA, Americans spend only 6.7% of their annual income on food, the lowest of 104 countries.

The American Farm Bureau survey found that the food purchased for Thanksgiving this week is a bargain compared to food in other countries. “While high food prices are a concern for every family, America still has one of the most affordable food supplies in the world,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “We’ve accomplished that, in part, due to strong farm bill programs. Although our focus is sharing time with family and friends this Thanksgiving, our thoughts also turn to encouraging Congress to double down on a commitment to passing a new farm bill with a modernized safety net to support those who raise the crops and livestock that supply Thanksgiving dinner and every dinner.” Included on the shopping list used for Farm Bureau’s informal survey:  turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls and butter, green peas, cranberries, vegetable tray, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream—in quantities to serve a family of 10 with plentiful leftovers. Lower prices for the main dish-- the turkey – helped bring down overall meal costs. Average prices for a 16-pound turkey is $27.35 ($1.71 per pound) down 5.6% over last year.  Egg prices are also much lower. Almost everything on the Thanksgiving menu is lower – 14-ounces of cubed stuffing mix is $3.77 (down 2.8%), a 12-ounce bag of cranberries is $2.10 (down 18%), frozen pie crusts are $3.50 (down 4.9%) and a half pint of whipping cream is $1.73 (down 22.8%).

This year’s national average cost was calculated using 245 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers checked prices in person and online using grocery store apps and websites. They looked for the best possible prices without special promotional coupons or purchase deals.  The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. Farm Bureau “volunteer shoppers” checked prices Nov. 1-6.  Local Thanksgiving specials may lower prices. On behalf of all South Florida Farmers, we wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving – with a table full of Florida-grown food! Jonathan Allen is a farm manager with R.C. Hatton, one of the nation’s leading providers of high quality sugarcane, sweet corn, green beans and cabbage. He is a board member of the Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau.