By Don Ehrlich :: December 4, 2017
With the holiday season once again upon us, we at CFI wanted to take a moment to give you an inside look at the many festive traditions that we transport during this time of year! Poinsettia, turkeys and cranberries are only a few of the traditional holiday accoutrements but sometimes they’re so connected to the season that we forget the journey each has to get from the farm or field to our homes and tables. This season, join us for a quick peek at how CFI does holidays!
Strangely enough, most poinsettias are imported from Canada, though the plant is indigenous to Mexico where it can grow 10-15 feet tall in over 100 different varieties. While the US does import some poinsettias from Guatemala and El Salvador, the bulk of our poinsettia shipments originate in California. As the best selling potted plant in the United States, most of the $250 million in sales happen in the six weeks before Christmas. These flowers can be kept from blooming by photoperiodism, a process that adjusts the amount of light they receive to prevent premature blooming. In order to bloom, poinsettias must undergo a period of at least 5 days with more than 12 hours of darkness each day.
Thanksgiving isn’t the only day of the year when the turkey reigns. Christmas day’s most popular dinner is a repeat of the traditional Thanksgiving offerings and that means St. Nick is talking turkey. With 46 million turkeys eaten on Thanksgiving and 22 million more on Christmas, almost 800 million pounds of turkey will be consumed in the US this year. Minnesota leads the nation in turkey production, with 44 million turkeys; then North Carolina, with 33 million turkeys; followed by Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, and Virginia round out the list, with each state contributing more than 15 million turkeys annually. While turkey supply is plentiful now, in 2015 a case of bird flu caused prices to climb as safe sources were drained and entire flocks were lost. Most turkeys are shipped frozen under controlled conditions to maximize flavor and freshness on the intended holiday.
Cranberries are another export that soars around the holiday season in the United States. As one of only three commercially produces fruits that
are native to North America, 98% of the world’s cranberry supply comes from the US and Canada. The U.S. cranberry industry exported about 2.9 million 100-pound barrels of cranberries in 2016-17, as we ate 400 million pounds of cranberries that year with 20% being consumed on Thanksgiving Day. Only 5% of cranberries are eaten fresh, as the rest are jellied, canned, candied, juiced or turned into sauce. Cranberries have recently become a sought-after ingredient in China, leading relatively steady production to increase in 2016 to meet this new demand.
Next week, we look forward to talking about how holiday greens go from forest to decor as we continue our holiday blog posts to give everyone a little peek into our season of sharing!