It’s turkey time. Check out some facts, tips, and recipes for a favorite holiday bird.

Read about turkeys in the Winter 2023 In Season article, along with former WSU executive chef Jamie Callison’s roast turkey and stuffing recipe.

Talkin’ turkey

Value of US production: $5.89 billion

US turkey meat production, ready-to-cook weight: 5.56 billion pounds

Total US production, number of birds: 216.5 million

US consumption: 5.09 billion pounds

US consumption per capita: 15.3 pounds (compared to 8.2 pounds in 1970)

US turkey meat exports: 548 million pounds

US average price for whole frozen turkey hens: $1.23 per pound (compared to 96 cents per pound in 2017)

— USDA, 2021


Bird by bird

Top eight turkey-producing states

Minnesota: 40.5 million

North Carolina: 30 million

Arkansas: 27 million

Indiana: 20.5 million

Missouri: 17 million

Virginia: 14.5 million

Iowa: 11.7 million

Pennsylvania: 6.9 million

— USDA, 2021


Top five turkey export markets by weight

Mexico: 169.7 million pounds

Benin: 7.6 million

Canada: 6 million

China: 5.9 million

South Africa: 5.6 million

— USDA, 2021


Top five turkey export markets by value

Mexico: $449.5 million

Rest of world: $160.5 million

Canada: $23.9 million

China: $14.6 million

Dominican Republic: $14.1 million

Guatemala: $12.5 million

— USDA, 2021


Read more

From the archive: Talking turkey (Winter 2009)

Let’s talk turkey with WSU Extension

It’s time for turkey (Food safety tips from WSU Extension)

Poultry Pointers from 1945

Turkey coloring page for kids (WSU Extension)

Why Americans Call Turkey ‘Turkey’: How a New World bird came to be named after countries halfway around the globe (The Atlantic, Nov. 26, 2014)

National Turkey Federation

Thanksgiving 101 (National Turkey Federation)

What Thanksgiving Turkeys Represent About America’s Food-Insecure Future (Future Human, Nov. 22, 2020)

Turkey from Farm to Table: Answers to common questions about turkeys and preparing them (USDA)

Raising America’s turkeys (National Turkey Federation)


Another recipe

Betsy Rogers (’89 Comm.) owns and operates Ovens to Betsy, a personal chef business in Seattle. In time for the holidays, she shares her recipe for Turkey Liver Mousse.


Turkey Liver Mousse

by Betsy Rogers

12 ounces turkey liver

1 stick butter, divided

1 small shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ cup Marsala wine

2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced

¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Rinse livers and pat dry. Remove connective tissue and chop into chunks.

Heat a skillet over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon butter. Melt butter until foaming. Add shallots, and sauté until translucent. Turn heat up to medium-high, and add liver chunks. Cook until browned and centers are cooked through. Remove mixture from pan and let cool slightly. Add garlic to pan and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze pan with Marsala, and cook until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Add livers back to pan and toss to coat.

Add liver mixture to a food processor, along with sage, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Start processor and add remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Wait to add additional butter until the each tablespoon has been incorporated. Continue to process until mousse is smooth. Spoon into a ramekin, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour to set.

To serve, spread on baguette slices or crackers.


Learn more about Ovens to Betsy.