[A]s you're digging into turkey and sweet potatoes, and decorating that Christmas tree, you are probably doing some of the best economic support for the Old North State that is possible. And the good news is that families all across the rest of the nation are doing it too.
We published this a few years ago. While the numbers may be off some, they're probably not off by that much.
At that time, the state was the second-largest turkey-producing state after Minnesota. (And probably is still.)
And then there are the sweet potatoes.
North Carolina has been the number one producer of sweet potatoes in the United States, according to the Department of Agriculture. "Today more than 40% of the natinal [sic] supply of sweet potatoes comes from North Carolina."
And, finally, the holiday season closes out with Christmas trees.
"The North Carolina Christmas Tree Industry is ranked second in the nation in number of trees harvested and first in the nation in terms of dollars made per tree," according to the N.C. Christmas Tree Association.
"The North Carolina Fraser fir has been judged the Nation's best through a contest sponsored by the National Christmas Tree Association and chosen for the official White House Christmas tree nine times (more than any other species) 1971, 1973, 1982, 1984, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2005, and 2007 [and 2008]."
AN UPDATE! The News & Observer just today has an article about how this has been a "bumper crop" year for North Carolina's Christmas tree industry.
Let's go to reporter (and fantastic neighbor) Josh Shaffer:
North Carolina counts 1,600 growers turning out roughly 5 million trees a year, a statistic that ranks the state’s harvest second nationwide behind Oregon. This year’s 19-foot White House tree came from Peak Farms in Ashe County. ...
Farm income from Christmas trees totaled $85 million last year, though analysts say prices have been trending down for several years due to competition from fakes.
Real-tree dealers face heavy competition from artificial trees, which coupled with the down economy has put pressure on lower prices, said John Frampton, forestry professor at N.C. State University. But the industry expects the same slow uptick that much of the economy is seeing.
So there ya go. Happy ThanksgiviNg and Christmas, everyone!