I am already looking forward to the delicious food and time with family and friends that informally begins on Thanksgiving. I am blessed and thankful to be surrounded by family this time of the year. After an early morning hunt, there is nothing better than stepping into the warmth of a kitchen where the scent of turkey, stuffing and pies fill the air amid the conversation and camaraderie of people I love.
In Wisconsin, the classic, traditional groceries we purchase to put on our Thanksgiving spread are a good deal. In fact, according to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF), the price for a typical home-cooked Thanksgiving meal in Wisconsin is $1.86 less than the national average.
The WFBF reported last week that the cost for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people is down 54 cents from last year at $47.26. Their results are a price sample of 12 Thanksgiving food items in 33 communities in Wisconsin in October and November. The survey includes the prices for most traditional items such as turkey, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie. The national average is calculated by the American Farm Bureau Federation and is listed as $49.12 for 2017.
The average price for a 16-pound turkey in Wisconsin is about $20.96, which is less than the national average of $22.74. These prices reflect average prices before any grocer’s discounts, of which there are many. It is important to note that in 2015 Wisconsin suffered an outbreak of avian flu in which nearly 8 million turkeys were lost. Fortunately it appears that the poultry industry has rebounded from this crisis.
The rest of the meal largely relies on produce prices. The price of cranberries dropped slightly, while the price of sweet potatoes increased for this year’s meal by 6 cents. Prices for pumpkin pie mix increased by 7 cents. For a pound of green peas, the price in Wisconsin increased from $1.44 to $1.58.
As you prepare and enjoy your holiday meals, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) reminds you to keep safety in mind. According to the United States Fire Administration, unattended cooking is the leading factor in home cooking fires. DATCP reminds us to monitor where the cooks in your kitchen place oven mitts, wooden utensils and towels. When there is a lot going on in the kitchen, it is easy to toss a towel onto the counter too close to a burner on low.
If you are thinking about frying your turkey, DATCP recommends following the manufacturer’s guidelines for whichever appliance or cooking configuration you use. While the YouTube videos of people failing at frying a turkey are funny, they are also a strong reminder of the risk and danger associated with hot grease and an open flame. Be careful while you prepare your delicious dinner!
If travel is in your plans, it’s a great time to put together a Road Trip Emergency Kit that you can keep in your vehicle until next spring. DATCP recommends stocking your kit with nonperishable food, flashlight, extra hats, gloves and blankets. I would also recommend a pair of boots if you have to get out and push or walk to safety. Other suggestions are available on www.readywisconsin.gov.
This year, I have a lot to be thankful for. I am blessed to have a wonderful wife, terrific kids, the love of my family and a friendly community. I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve my neighbors in the State Senate and I am thankful that my service has delivered good things for rural Wisconsin this year. I am thankful for all of the support, encouragement and input I have received from you, my readers, and look toward the coming year with optimism and high expectations.