A small delegation of Minnesotans is in China this week and next to talk turkey... literally.
The delegation is visiting to encourage the Chinese to buy more turkey from Minnesota growers, and hopefully replace chicken and pork in traditional dishes. The U.S. exported about 47,000 metric tons of turkey to China last year. Minnesota accounts for about one sixth of U.S. turkey production.
"China is currently the second-largest consumer of U.S. turkey products after Mexico," said Christina Connelly, who is traveling with the trade mission and is the international trade representative for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. "But it is quite small in comparison to the Mexico consumption. China typically prefers kind of fattier meat."
In Shanghai, dozens of Chinese chefs will compete in a contest in which they will cook with turkey.
"We have been working for some time to test the idea that turkey could really replace chicken as a source of poultry protein in some of their traditional cuisine," Connelly said.