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Appetites: A look behind 'Turkey To Go' sandwiches at the fair

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A turkey sandwich sold at the Turkey To Go booth at the State Fair.
A turkey sandwich sold at the Turkey To Go booth at the Minnesota State Fair. The ingredients include chopped turkey meat, turkey broth and seasonings.
Tom Crann | MPR News

Minnesota holds the title of No. 1 turkey producing state in the country, with about 600 turkey farms across the state where more than 40 million turkeys are raised every year.

And of course, turkeys can be found at the Great Minnesota Get-Together — some in the poultry barn at the fairgrounds and others in the Turkey To Go sandwiches, sold right by the barn. 

“People laugh at our location. I mean, clearly, it's a sort of grim reminder,” said Lara Durben, head of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. “It's the circle of life. Our farmers, they raise turkeys, they want to feed people and that's what we have now.”

The Turkey To go booth started across the street from its current spot in 1958 — with a single dish on the menu, a roasted turkey dinner. Through the decades, they’ve added different options, some of which were a hit, while some were rather novel for fair food. 

“Barbecued turkey was big for a while. They even tried Turkey noodle casserole for a while,” Durben said.

Turkey To Go now sells more than 4,000 sandwiches every day during the State Fair. Its secret? “It smells a little bit like Thanksgiving, which, you know, who doesn't love that,” Durben says. 

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation at the Minnesota State Fair.