As Arizonans gather at the family table on Thanksgiving to feast on turkey and all the trimmings, the Arizona family of 10 will pay just $39.22 for the pants-tightening meal, or $3.92 per person. This is a $1.53 increase for the large family meal compared to the 2005 Arizona Thanksgiving meal of $37.69. The 2006 meal price is $1.12 above the national average.

The cost of a 16-pound turkey purchased in Arizona was $15.68, or 98 cents per pound. Compared to 2005, prices are lower this year for milk, yet prices for turkeys, stuffing, and green peas were higher. Turkey prices were 6 cents a pound higher.

According to Dewey, Ariz., turkey grower Sarah Teskey of Young’s Farm, “Increased turkey prices are the result of higher energy costs plus a slight reduction in the turkey supply across the country.”

Ten Arizona farmers and ranchers shopped at grocery stores in Maricopa, Pima, Coconino, and Cochise counties to gather prices for the annual Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey conducted by the Arizona Farm Bureau. All prices were based on regular store pricing, not on sale priced items or store loss leader items.

The Farm Bureau survey shopping list included 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 to serve a family of 10.

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

“Farm and ranch families in Arizona and across the nation take great pride in providing the safest, most abundant, and the most affordable food supply in the world,” said AZFB President Kevin Rogers of Mesa, Ariz. “The fact that Arizonans can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal for just $3.92 per person is worthy of many thanks.”

Farm Bureau started its unscientific Thanksgiving meal survey in 1986.

e-mail: cblake@farmpress.com