Plan the turkey purchase ahead this Thanksgiving

Local farms can sell vouchers to reserve a bird.

October 20, 2021, 7:58 AM

Turkey is the centerpiece staple of Thanksgiving, but there could be a slight slump in size and availability this year, which could mean pricier poultry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has predicted a minor drop in production this quarter with an expected dip from 1,451 million pounds of tender turkey this time last year to 1,420 million this year.

Some farmers have seen turkey sales soar.

Jon McConaughy, owner of Double Brook Farm, told "GMA," "We're seeing sales substantially greater than they were at the same time last year."

PHOTO: A roasted turkey is served for Thanksgiving dinner.
A roasted turkey is served for Thanksgiving dinner.

Phil Lempert, food marketing expert of Supermarket Guru, said the price jump this turkey day could be caused by a variety of issues from climate change to the pandemic supply chain bottleneck.

"We have a major shortage of truck drivers. So being able to get the birds to the supermarkets is going to be a problem," he explained.

Experts are encouraging consumers to shop local and turn to turkey farms nearby.

PHOTO: Turkeys stand in a barn at a Farm in Morton, Ill., Nov. 11, 2019.
Turkeys stand in a barn at a Farm in Morton, Ill., Nov. 11, 2019.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE

White Oak Pastures in Georgia typically sells out of their turkeys every year. Director of marketing Jenni Harries suggested to buy sooner than later and the best way to go about ensuring you get a bird in time.

"We're currently selling vouchers. Consumers can reserve a bird, which will then they'll be called in early November to redeem their purchase," she said.

Harris also suggested, "Tell the farmer that you're completely OK with having them ship it early -- maybe the first week in November, when things are not quite as hectic."

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