Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Up Slightly This Year

November 26, 2015

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 30th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $50.11, a 70-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.41.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at a total of $23.04 this year. That’s roughly $1.44 per pound, an increase of less than 9 cents per pound, or a total of $1.39 per whole turkey, compared to 2014.

“Retail prices seem to have stabilized quite a bit for turkey, which is the centerpiece of the meal in our marketbasket,” AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. “There were some production disruptions earlier this year due to the highly pathogenic Avian influenza outbreak in the Midwest. Turkey production is down this year but not dramatically. Our survey shows a modest increase in turkey prices compared to last year. But we’re now starting to see retailers feature turkeys aggressively for the holiday. According to USDA retail price reports, featured prices fell sharply just last week and were actually lower than last year,” he added.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

Foods showing the largest increases this year in addition to turkey were pumpkin pie mix, a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pie shells. A 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.20; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.61; and two nine-inch pie shells, $2.47.

“Despite concerns earlier this fall about pumpkin production due to wet weather, the supply of canned product will be adequate for this holiday season,” Anderson said.

Items that declined modestly in price were mainly dairy items including one gallon of whole milk, $3.25; a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $3.18; a half pint of whipping cream, $1.94; and 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.29. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery (79 cents) and one pound of green peas ($1.52) also decreased slightly in price.

The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. This year’s survey totaled over $50 for the first time.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are able to provide a bounty of food for a classic Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” Anderson said. “We are fortunate to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for just over $5 per serving.”

A Colorful Thanksgiving: Molino Library Coloring Contest

November 26, 2015

The Molino Branch Library held a Thanksgiving Coloring Contest  for children ages 11 and under. The winner of the 4-6 age bracket was Kierstyn, seen here with her colorful Thanksgiving turkey and prizes. Courtesy photo for, click to enlarge.

Turkey Time Cooking Tips

November 25, 2015

It’s Thanksgiving, time for family and friends to gather and give thanks. And time for cooks to ponder the correct way to prepare their turkey.

Today, we are taking a look at the proper way to cook your turkey with tips from Dorothy Lee, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for the Escambia County Extension Office.


Begin every meal preparation with clean hands, and wash hands frequently to prevent any cross contamination. As a rule, hands that have come in contact with raw meat or poultry should be washed for twenty seconds in hot, soapy water.


Raw meat and poultry products may contain harmful bacteria, so make certain that the juices from those products do not come in contact with food that will be eaten without cooking, like the salad. Also, never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat or poultry.

Use of food thermometer should be a standard operating procedure in your kitchen and, when used correctly, will ensure that your turkey is cooked to perfection. To be safe, the temperature of a whole turkey should reach 180°F between the breast and the innermost part of the thigh.

If you stuff your turkey, the center of the stuffing must reach 165°F. If the stuffing has not reached 165°F, then continue cooking the turkey until it does. Let the turkey stand twenty minutes after removal from the oven before carving.

This is another important step because food-borne bacteria can grow while food sits unrefrigerated. Refrigerate or freeze perishable leftovers within two hours of cooking. To prepare your leftovers, remove any remaining stuffing from the cavity and cut turkey into small pieces. Slice the breast meat. Wings and legs may be left whole. Refrigerate stuffing and turkey separately in shallow containers.

Use or freeze leftover turkey and stuffing within three to four days, gravy within one to two days. Reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165°F, or until hot and steaming.

For more information, call the Escambia County Extension office, (850) 475-5230.

Have A ‘Fresh From Florida’ Thanksgiving (With Recipes)

November 24, 2015

Fresh From Florida recipes can be incorporated into holiday traditions. These recipes feature delicious products grown and harvested in Florida. Look for the products with the “Fresh From Florida” label at your local grocery store.

“For an authentic Florida Thanksgiving, enjoy Florida’s agricultural bounty and incorporate ‘Fresh From Florida’ products into your meal,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “This time of year, you can find cucumber, squash, tomatoes and many more products grown and harvested right here in Florida, just look for the ‘Fresh From Florida’ label when shopping.”

Stuffed Florida Zucchini and Yellow Squash Parmesan

Florida Snap Beans with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Pan-Roasted Florida Vegetables

Florida Snap Bean and Sweet Pepper Sauté

Florida Squash and Tomato Gratin

Ernest Ward Middle Names Students Of The Month

November 23, 2015

Ernest Ward Middle School has named Students of the Month for November. They are (L-R) Katelyn Wilson, eighth grade; Danny Antrim, seventh grade; and Hannah Hassebrock, sixth grade. Photo for, click to enlarge.

FFA Boxed Fruit Sale Is Underway

November 23, 2015

The annual Northview High School FFA Fruit Sale is underway with delivery before Christmas.

The NHS FFA is selling citrus in attractive 2/5, 1/2 or 4/5 bushel boxes perfect for gift wrapping. The Florida citrus is from RiverBrite in Vero Beach.

Orders must be made by Monday, November 30. The pickup date is Wednesday, December 16.

For an order form click here. Order forms and payment can be returned to Northview by mail (the address is on the order form), or dropped off at the school office. Fruits available include red apples, grapefruit, navel oranges, tangelos and Hamlin oranges. Mixed trio half bushels are also available.

For more information, call (850) 327-6681, ext. 248.

Let The Miracle League Fry Your Thanksgiving Turkey

November 22, 2015

Want a fried turkey but afraid to try it yourself? Volunteers from the Miracle League of Pensacola will fry your turkey for you on Wednesday, November 25, saving you the time and trouble while benefiting the charity. And there is still time to make an appointment.

Completely thaw your turkey, removing all of the inside packaging and giblets. Write down exactly how much your turkey weighs so it is fried perfectly and take it to the Miracle League Park at 555 East Nine Mile Road from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25. For a monetary donation to Miracle League, the volunteers will fry your turkey to perfection. A minimum of $20 per turkey is necessary to help cover costs, and any additional donation will benefit the Miracle League of Pensacola.

Call (850) 384-9180 with questions or to schedule your time (leave a message if no answer). Reservations should be made early as they number of time slots is limited.

Molino Park Students Check Out The Moon, Stars

November 21, 2015

Molino Park Elementary School students and their families took part in a stargazing event Friday night at the school.

They were able to use an iPad app to see a virtual sky map as they panned from horizon to horizon, and telescopes were set up for a closer look at stars and planets.

Pictured top: The moon as seen from the stargazing event Friday night in Molino. Pictured inset: Molino Park student Sophia St. Cyr uses an iPad app to locate stars. Reader photos for, click to enlarge.

Weekend Gardening: What To Do Before November’s End

November 21, 2015

Here is your November gardening calendar from the University of Florida/IFAS Extension:

What to Plant

  • Bedding Plants: Create a display of fall colors with cool season plants. Some to try are pansy, viola, and chrysanthemum.
  • Bulbs: Bulbs to plant this month include amaryllis, crinum, and daylily. Plant Lycoris (spider lily) in partial shade. Plants will produce foliage in winter and beautiful red flowers emerge in late summer.
  • Herbs: Continue planting herbs from seeds or plants. A wide variety of herbs like cooler, dryer weather, including cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, sage, and thyme.
  • Vegetables: Continue planting cool season crops such as beet, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, kale, and lettuce.

What to Do

  • Citrus: If freezing temperatures are predicted, protect small citrus trees by watering  well at least a day before the freeze. You may also use covers that extend to the
  • ground for protection.
  • Scale on ornamental plants: Now that temperatures are lower, use dormant oil sprays to control scale insects on trees and shrubs.
  • Irrigation: Plants need less supplemental watering in cooler weather. Turn off  systems and water only if needed.
  • Flowering Trees: Taiwan cherry is an ornamental cherry suitable for north Florida. Late winter will bring pink buds so consider planting one now.
  • Birds: As you prune your plants during the cooler months, make a small brush pile in the back of the yard for birds.
  • Camellias: Add some of the new cultivars for bright spots of color in winter. Disbudding, or removing some buds now, will insure larger blooms later.

What to Do Every Month

  • Adjust irrigation based on rainfall.
  • Deadhead flowers to encourage new blooms.
  • Monitor the garden for insects and disease.
  • Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials and water until established.

Tate Students Coots, Brown Named To All County Academic Team

November 20, 2015

Tate High Schools students Bryce Coots (left) and Samantha Brown will represent Tate High School and the Escambia County School District on the 2015-2016 All County Academic Team. They are pictured with Tate Principal Rick Shackle. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.

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