Illinois: #1 in Horseradish

Land of Lincoln produces more than just corn and beans

Being a Midwestern state, Illinois dominates when it comes to corn and soybean production. But according to the most recent census released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Land of Lincoln has some impressive numbers for other crops as well.

For example, did you know that Illinois is the nation's largest producer of horseradish? More than 1800 acres are dedicated to the spicy condiment, which is huge compared to the country's second-largest, Pennsylvania. The "Keystone State" offers a scant 8 acres.

That pumpkin you carved for Halloween probably came from downstate. Illinois is also the national leader in pumpkin acreage.

"Most people are surprised when they hear about our statistics on horseradish and pumpkin acreage," said Illinois State Statistician Brad Schwab, reports the Canton Daily Ledger. "Many people may not know, for example, that Mason is the number one county in the nation in popcorn acres."

So break out the salt and butter and support your local farmers. Because according to the report, while the number of farms in Illinois has increased, the size of the average farm has decreased.

Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue and "between blogs" blogger, only consumes horseradish if it's in a Bloody Mary.

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