Millions of Florida families will gather together today around a table to share a feast of Thanksgiving. Among the many blessings we have to be thankful for are the farmers who work tirelessly to provide our nations bounty.
While many offices, businesses and restaurants will be closed to celebrate Thanksgiving, Floridas 47,000 farms will not cease their work. The job of providing the food and fiber that feeds the world is never done. After all, Mother Nature does not recognize holidays.
Dairy farmers will milk their cows two or three times today. Meanwhile, our kids will enjoy a full glass of locally grown milk with their meals, and well savor a scoopful of ice cream with our warm pecan pie.
Shrimpers, fishermen, clammers and oystermen came off the water late last night with boats full of fresh Florida seafood. For many of us seafood lovers, a Florida feast would not be complete without their fresh catch, and stuffing would not be as flavorful without their oysters.
Growers in South Florida have worked tirelessly over the last couple of weeks to harvest the vegetables that make up our salads and green-bean casseroles at todays meal. Florida is known as the nations winter salad bowl because our growers provide 80 percent of the fresh vegetables grown during the winter months.
Nearly every dish of your Thanksgiving feast was made possible by the ranchers, farmers and growers who work day in and day out, all year long, to provide the food and fiber that feeds our nation.
This Thanksgiving, when you say grace over your meal, and you give thanks for your family, your friends and your blessings, dont forget to give thanks for Americas farmers.
Adam H. Putnam is Floridas commissioner of agriculture.