Information about Thanksgiving.

250 million


That’s the estimated number of turkeys raised in the U.S. the past two years. They weighed approximately 7.9 billion pounds and had an estimated value of $4.5 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


Don't blame the bird


According to TLC, L-tryptophan is the essential amino acid and natural sedative found in turkey meat. Many people believe it to be the cause of a sleepiness common after a Thanksgiving feast, but this simply isn’t true. L-tryptophan doesn’t act on the brain unless you take it on an empty stomach with no protein present. The levels found in a turkey dinner are far too low to cause drowsiness.


Turkey processors


Butterball produced the most turkeys last year, at 1,330 million pounds, according to the 2010 Watt Poultry estimate. Jennie-O followed with 1,270 million pounds. In third place came Cargill Value Added Meats at 1,165 million pounds. Perdue came in sixth place at 267 million pounds.


709 million pounds


You simply can’t have Thanksgiving without cranberries. That’s probably why there were 709 million pounds of them produced last year in the U.S., the Census Bureau says. Wisconsin was responsible for producing about 400 pounds, followed by Massachusetts, where 190 million pounds were produced. Other strong cranberry states were New Jersey, Washington and Oregon.


Sincerest form of flattery


There are three places in the U.S. named after turkeys. There’s Turkey, Texas, which has 456 residents; Turkey Creek, La., has 361 residents; and Turkey, N.C., has 272 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


Turkey consumption


Our turkey consumption has increased 109 percent in the past 40 years because of the recognition of the bird’s nutritional value and taste, according to the National Turkey Federation. Last year, each person in the U.S. consumed an average of 17 pounds of turkey.


Turkey nations


We aren’t the only country obsessed with turkey. Americans eat the most turkey, followed by Canada, then countries in the European Union, then Mexico and Brazil, according to the Foreign Agricultural service. But no one eats as many turkeys as Americans do. Canada came in second place, but Canadians eat just a little more than half as many turkeys per capita as we do.


Political turkeys


It isn’t just the common man who eats turkey. It’s also a tradition in the White House that dates to 1947, when the National Turkey Federation presented the president with a live turkey and two dressed turkeys for Thanksgiving. After the ceremony, the live turkey moves to Disneyland to live permanently.