Summer is in full swing and, for many, that means it's time for a picnic. Whether you stay in your backyard or head to your favorite lookout spot, a picnic is always a good idea. If you didn’t feast outdoors in July during National Picnic Month, there’s still time to enjoy a great meal with nice weather and peaceful scenery.
There are many types of foods that you can prepare ahead of time for a picnic that are great served cold. Chicken, for example, may be one of the best picnic foods. Whether you fry it, roll some lunch meat, or make your world-famous chicken salad, chicken is often an American picnic staple. It’s a good thing that there’s a lot of it! According to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), there were 3.6 billion pounds (PDF, 534 KB) of chicken produced in May. If you add deviled eggs or an egg salad sandwich to your cooler, NASS’ most recent Chickens and Eggs report tells us that 7.9 billion eggs (PDF, 545 KB) were also produced that month.
If chicken is not your thing, maybe try a tasty roast beef sandwich, pastrami pinwheel, or a good old-fashioned hamburger. Pork is another top choice for picnics. Perhaps consider a BLT, some thinly sliced ham, or pulled pork. There are many choices available in the 3.8 billion pounds (PDF, 504 KB) of commercial red meat produced in May.
Of course, you might need something to wrap around these delicious meats. With 1.9 billion bushels (PDF, 2.6 MB) of wheat produced last year, you should have no problem creating your perfect picnic plate. Croissants, wraps, rolls, and sliced bread are all great choices. Durum is included in this total wheat production number, which is most often used to create pasta – perfect for a summer side salad. Don’t forget to conclude your picnic with a little something sweet. Try some of the 3.7 billion pounds of watermelon grown last year. It’s also Watermelon Month after all!
Some parting tips to make your picnic a success: Plan ahead, drink plenty of water on those hot summer days, and always follow food safety guidelines found at USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service’s website, www.fsis.usda.gov.
For more U.S. agricultural statistics, visit www.nass.usda.gov.