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Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Increases 9% in 2010

November 16, 2010

This year’s Thanksgiving Dinner still $8.64 cheaper than two years ago

As Arizonans sit down at the Thanksgiving table to dig into the traditional feast this year, the turkey dinner with all the trimmings will cost $44.17 for an Arizona family of 10, or around $4.42 per person. This is an increase of $3.70 or about 9 percent over the 2009 Arizona Thanksgiving meal ($40.47) and 70 cents over this year’s American Farm Bureau survey of $43.47.

Without factoring in store coupons or specials, the cost of a 16-pound turkey purchased in Arizona this year was $16.80, or $1.05 cents per pound, which reflects a 7 percent increase in the cost of a turkey over last year. This year’s meal is actually $8.64 cheaper than what shoppers paid two years ago, when the total was $52.81.

The 2010 Arizona Thanksgiving meal cost estimate is the result of the Arizona Farm Bureau’s annual informal Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey of the prices of basic food items found on the Thanksgiving dinner table.

The Arizona Farm Bureau survey shopping list includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray including carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream plus coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. To make a proper comparison, these items are the same food items used in the national Farm Bureau survey for the past two decades.

“Throughout the year we’re fortunate to enjoy a bounty of foods produced in Arizona and across the nation, said Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers, a cotton and alfalfa farmer from Maricopa County. “It’s especially appropriate as we gather at the Thanksgiving table to savor not only food and fellowship, but to take a moment to recognize that this blessing begins with our hard-working farm and ranch families. Arizona agriculture is a $10.3 billion industry and is a major component of the state’s economy.”

Arizona farmers and ranchers produce most of the ingredients in the traditional Thanksgiving meal including dressing (bread, onions and celery), peas, pumpkin and pecans for pies, and several others. Even roses, sometimes used for holiday centerpieces, are grown in Arizona.

“Based on this year’s average meal cost, Arizona residents can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal for around $4.42 per person. That’s worthy of many thanks,” Rogers concluded.

Arizona Farm Bureau encourages expert shoppers and in-store grocery personnel to beat its market basket price. “If a shopper comes in below the $44.17 Farm Bureau price, let us know on Arizona Farm Bureau’s List your success on our “Farmer Forum,” says Julie Murphree, director of public relations for Arizona Farm Bureau.

The average price of the remainder of the menu includes: three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.60; a 16-ounce package of frozen green peas, $1.99; one gallon of whole milk, $2.39; a half-pint carton of whipping cream, $1.49; a package of two nine-inch pie shells, $2.85; a 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries, $2.50; a 14-ounce package of cubed stuffing, $3.05; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.27; miscellaneous items like eggs, sugar, flour and coffee, $3.22; one-half pound each of carrots and celery for a relish tray, $1.02; and a 12-ounce package of brown-and-serve rolls, $1.99.

Arizona Farm Bureau comparison over last year

2010                            2009

Turkey, 16 lbs                                   $16.80 ▲                   $15.68

Cube Stuffing, 14 oz.                       $3.05   ▲                   $2.36

Pumpkin Pie Mix, 30 oz.              $3.27   ▲                   $2.75

Pie Shells (2)                                      $2.85   ▲                   $2.48

Sweet Potatoes, 3 lbs                     $3.60   ▼                   $3.63

Brown & Serve Rolls, 12               $1.99   ▲                   $1.93

Frozen Green Peas, 1 lb                $1.99   ▲                   $1.36

Carrots and celery relish tray, l lb       $1.02   ▼                   $1.05

Whole Milk, 1 gallon                       $2.39   ▲                   $1.96

Fresh Cranberriers, 12 oz.           $2.50   ▼                   $2.65

Whipping Cream, ½ pint              $1.49   ▼                   $1.59

*Misc. ingredients                           $3.22   ▲                   $3.03

*Coffee, onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter

Prices of past surveys include: 1986 – $28.74; 1987 – $24.51; 1988 – $26.61; 1989 – $24.70; 1990 – $28.85; 1991 – $25.95; 1992 – $26.39; 1993 – $27.49; 1994 – $28.40; 1995 – $29.64; 1996 – $31.66; 1997 – $31.75; 1998 – $33.09; 1999 – $33.83; 2000 – $32.37; 2001 – $35.04; 2002 – $34.56; 2003 – $36.28; 2004 – $36.04; 2005 – $37.69; 2006 – $39.22; 2007 – $51.14; 2008 – $52.81; and 2009 – 40.47.

The Farm Bureau Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey is unscientific, but serves as a gauge of actual price trends across the state.  This survey is based on shelf price and does not reflect special prices and promotional gimmicks.

Shoppers involved in this year’s survey were asked to identify the best in-store price, excluding promotional coupons and special deals. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.


New Insect Birth Control Strategy Zaps Cotton Pests

November 16, 2010

Interesting article in the UofA News.  University of Arizona Researchers have found a new insect birth control strategy by combining pest-resistant cotton with the controlled release of sterile pink bollworm moths.  This UA-led initiative has virtually rid Arizona of one the world’s most damaging cotton pests.  This is particularly interesting and timely since Arizona is right in the midst of cotton production.  Read the rest of the article here:  New Insect Birth Control Strategy Zaps Cotton Pests

ASU Speaker Series: Arizona’s Food Production, the Facts and Faces of our Farmers

November 15, 2010

On December 2, 2010,  ASU West Campus is hosting a panel of agriculturalists for their “Think” Thursdays in Kiva series. Beginning at 6:00 pm, this presentation is an introduction to some of our Arizona farmers and ranchers involved in food production, food sustainability and food advances in our state.

The panel will share their first-hand experiences and illustrate the strength of sustainable Arizona agriculture through their generational farming and ranching traditions.

Panel to include:
• James Boyle of Boyle Dairies = Representing Dairy
• Glenn Hickman of Hickman Family Farms = Representing Egg Production
• Bas Aja of the Arizona Beef Council = Representing Beef
Don Davidson, DVM = Representing Pork

This presentation offers an introduction to some of Arizona’s farmers and ranchers involved in food production, food sustainability and food advances. A panel will share their first-hand experiences and illustrate the strength of sustainable agriculture through their generational farming and ranching traditions. By 2050, almost seventy-five percent of the world’s population will be urban. And most of us, including Arizonans, are 3 to 4 generations removed from the farm and ranch. As a result we have no contact with the source of our food other than eating it. Arizona farmers and ranchers realize the significant importance of knowing where our food comes from including the excitement of growing and raising our food for an ever-growing population.

The event runs on Thursday, December 2nd, 2010, from 6:00-7:00 PM at the ASU West Campus, Kiva, located at 4701 West Thunderbird Road, Phoenix.

For more information, check out the event page on Facebook called Much Ado About Food

T.C. Eggington’s celebrates its 25th EGG-iversary November 15th – 19th with a limited-time 25-egg omelet offering for charity

November 12, 2010

Proceeds to benefit East Valley Firefighter Charities

It’s the 25 year EGG-iversary for renowned Mesa eatery T.C. Eggington’s this month!  To celebrate this milestone, the restaurant will offer a signature 25-egg omelet on Monday November 15th through Friday November 19th with proceeds to benefit East Valley Firefighter Charities.

For every person or group who eats the 25-egg omelet during its EGG-iversary week, T.C. Eggington’s will donate $50 to the East Valley Firefighter Charities. Omelets can be plain or filled to the brim with the incredible ingredients from T.C. Eggington’s kitchen.

Also, Friday, November 19, 2010 marks the official 25th Egg-iversary and is also the last chance to order the 25-egg omelet.  Guests will receive complementary bubbly OJ to cheers!

T.C. Eggington’s has been serving up its extraordinary breakfasts, lunches and brunches in Mesa, Arizona since 1985. The restaurant is known for its award-winning traditional family recipes, which are all made from scratch, using only the freshest ingredients. The Arizona Republic honored T.C. Eggington’s recently by listing it as the number 5 in the best breakfasts in the Valley.  They are located at 1660 South Alma School Road, in Mesa, Arizona.

The restaurant uses an average of 800 eggs a day during the week (all eggs purchased locally through Hickman’s Family Farms), and 2400 eggs on weekends. That’s over 8000 every week, or nearly 10.5 million eggs in the 25 years T.C.’s has been serving up eggs. Most folks would consider that eggscellent numbers!


Pumpkin Pie Cake-Too Good for Words!!

November 10, 2010

Editor’s Note:  This post courtesy of Jan D’Atri

Rescued Recipe #179

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Pumpkin pie cake photo credit: Jan D'Atri

Two things I’ll always remember about this week: how miserable I made Rodney Shedd; and Tiffany Shedd’s fabulous Pumpkin Pie Cake.

It was the last day for picking cotton this season at the The Cotton Shedd Farm near Eloy.

The heritage family farm run by Rodney and Tiffany is a working farm that produces cotton, wheat and beef as well as offer country living classes, art classes, handmade soaps and Tiffany’s original artwork. While Rodney handles the harvest, Tiffany—in addition to other chores of farm life—has opened her home and the farm experience to anyone who’s hankering to be a “farmer for the day.” You’ll see how cotton is picked, get to pick some yourself, take a hayride and then be treated to a farmhouse meal including the Pumpkin Pie Cake! High atop the cotton rig in the middle of the Shedd’s 900-acre cotton field, I was shooting video out the door of the cab that Rodney was driving.

“When you’re done shooting Jan, would you mind closing the cab door? I’m allergic to cotton.” What a gracious man. If I were Rodney I would’ve booted me right off the cotton pickin’ rig! That cab is the only thing that shelters Rodney from flying cotton debris and has allowed him to continue to do what he loves—and will always love best—be a cotton farmer. So, I’ll live with the memory or ruining Rodney’s day. You take the cake! It’s a fall harvest winner from The Cotton Shedd. (Visit

Cotton Shedd Pumpkin Pie Cake

Recipe courtesy of Christina Bradford

1 boxed yellow cake mix
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
4 large eggs
2 cans (15 oz. each) pumpkin
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
1  cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, cut into small pieces, chilled
1 cup chopped pecans
Whipping cream

Preheat oven 350.  Grease and flour 9×13 pan.
Measure out 1 cup of dry cake mix, set aside.  Place remaining cake mix, ½ cup butter and one egg in mixing bowl.  Beat until fully combined.

Using your fingers, gently press the batter into the pan and partially up the sides.  Set aside.

Filling: Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, 1 cup sugar, 3 remaining eggs and cinnamon in same mixing bowl.  Beat on low until combined. Beat again, on medium until the mixture lightens in color and texture, 1-2 minutes more.  Pour filling over the crust in the pan.  Set aside.

Topping: Place chilled butter and the reserved cake mix in mixing bowl.  Beat until crumbly, about 2 minutes.  Stir in pecans.

Distribute topping over the filling.
Bake until the center no longer jiggles when you shake the pan and the top has browned, approx. 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and cool at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve cold or warm with whipped cream.

Store this cake, without the whipping cream, covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Classically Trained Wine Master Signs up For Farm Bureau Membership via Droid

November 10, 2010

By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau

He’s not your average kind of guy.

Arizona Farm Bureau's Peggy Jo peeks over Gary Reeves shoulder as he signs up for membership on his Droid. Photo Credit: Julie Murphree

Classically trained multi-generational wine master, The Village of Elgin Winery Owner Gary Reeves likes to do it right and get right to it.

So when he came up to me on Saturday morning (November 6) before the start of the Festival at the Farm event to sign up for an Arizona Farm Bureau agriculture membership I did mention he could get on a computer and sign up online. “No, I want to do it now on my Droid.”

With the url plugged in and a few finger scrolls up and down (and sideways) he had the membership application filled out and credit card number sent in — done in what my grandma would explain, “faster than two shakes of a lamb’s tail.”

Since providing online renewal and new membership sign-up on, approximately 25% of our current members have renewed online. So the tool is providing convenience. And, we’re excited that this suits our mobile customers — even those that have confessed to shopping via cell phone while stopped at a red light (but we won’t name names).

“Our winery wanted to support the Arizona Farm Bureau and do it immediately,” said Reeves. “The reality is that if I didn’t do it right then and there it would take another week to get around to joining. As easy as it was to do it there was no reason not to.”

Reeves added, “It really was one of the easiest forms to fill out online.”

Family-owned and producing wines in the traditional manner, Reeves’ winery is the largest producer of wine in the Sonoita valley. Explained Reeves, “Classically styled and aged in fine European wood, the wines reflect the subtle grace of Arizona terrior.”

If you go to The Village of Elgin Winery website you’ll discover a variety of quality wines to choose from.

The family also owns Four Monkey Wines.

You can find all their wines at Total Wines and More.

Focused on community, the family donates a portion of each bottle sold to researching a cure for autism and they also donate to the Wounded Warrior program.

Welcome to Arizona Farm Bureau Reeves family! We’re excited to have you on board!

Rescued Recipes: Hamburger Soup from Jan D’Atri

November 9, 2010

Editor’s Note:  This is a guest post by Jan D’Atri

Hamburger soup, photo credit: Jan D'Atri

With all the soup I’ve made in my lifetime, why haven’t I made this one? Why had I never even heard of this recipe since it’s so easy and absolutely delicious?

Well, I’m making up for it now because Hamburger Soup is a new favorite for fall. Think of a thick, rich homemade chicken soup with rice instead of noodles and ground beef, turkey or pork sausage instead of chicken!

Remember last week I told you that I’ve been cooking out of the Bale of Treasures Cookbook lately? It was compiled years ago by the Casa Grande Valley Cotton and Agricultural Women’s Club and loaded with simple and satisfying recipes that were favorites of Arizona ranching and farming families. The Hamburger Soup recipe came from Christye Flanagan of the Yuma County Cotton Wives.

I had all the ingredients for the soup in my frig, freezer or panty (and you probably do, too) so I grabbed a big ol’ pot and started chopping. In about an hour I had a hearty and substantial soup ready to toss some croutons in to.

The recipe is delicious as is, but I kicked up the flavor even more by using hot Italian sausage in addition to ground beef  (equal amounts) and then threw in a pinch of red pepper for an added bright punch. I also left out the tomato juice and replaced it with chicken broth, since I wanted just the flavor of the broth, veggies and meat. I’ll make it with the tomato juice this week.

It’s a great “everything but the kitchen sink” type of recipe.

If it’s in the frig and you need to get rid of it…throw it in the Hamburger Soup!

(I did that with a leek and a leftover sweet yellow onion half)

When you scoop up a ladle of this soup and pour it into a bowl I think you’re going to have the same reaction I had. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

Hey Seinfeld. You’re in luck. This week it’s soup for you!

Cooking the soup. Photo Credit: Jan D'Atri

Hamburger Soup


1 pound ground beef (or half beef and half Italian sausage)

3 tablespoons olive oil or butter for sautéing

1 cup yellow onion, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup leek, diced, optional

1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced

3 cups tomato juice

¼ cup rice, uncooked

3 cups water (or broth if omitting tomato juice)

1 teaspoon basil

½ teaspoon thyme

2 bay leaves

3 teaspoons salt

pinch of red pepper flakes


In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté onions, carrots, celery, and leek in olive oil or butter until soft.

Add potatoes, ground beef and sausage. Cook until meat is browned. (Meat should be in small pieces.) Add rice, tomato juice, water or broth, basil, thyme and bay leaves. Cook for 1-2 hours. Add salt and red pepper flakes. Serve with croutons, crackers or bread and butter.