Turkey trouble? Butcher shops recommend ordering birds early

Local

WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – Turkey trouble? The Thanksgiving staple may not make it to some dinner plates this holiday. The rush to find the bird is on.

One local butcher shop owner said it’s difficult to find a typical Thanksgiving turkey this year. Even if you can get your hands on one, the price may not be what you are used to.

“I’ve been doing this since I was a little boy. I have never seen anything like this. It’s not just in the poultry. It’s across the market completely,” said Justin Everhart, owner of Sig’s Gourmet Butcher shop.

Everhart said he ordered his birds back in March, and since then, the price has gone up three times.

“I mean, I come up with 100 different excuses, but it is coming down to manpower right now. Our labor force is not like it used to be, especially in this sector,” said Everhart.

Everhart said his first shipment of turkeys will arrive this Friday, but drumsticks and turkey breasts are out of the question.

One agriculture expert said poultry has become popular all year round because of its low cost and the pandemic.

“The industry itself, the turkey growers were not geared up for this sharp increase of demand, and so it kinda caught them flat-footed,” said John Jenkinson, KSN’s agriculture expert.

Combining that shortage with freight delays, Jenkinson said fewer birds are available. It has Pig in Pig out searching for the meat too.

“We are driving from Walmart to Sam’s to Costco different meat suppliers around town picking as many turkeys as we can as we can pick them up,” said Steven Pittman, with Pig in Pig out.

The restaurant plans to make 140 turkeys. Even when they find them, the cost is about $20 more than last year. The customer can expect that increase.

“It’s a little more, but we will just kinda put a little more love on it and make it worth the extra amount of money we have to charge,” said Pittman.

So the big question now is when could we feel some relief when it comes to the cost of food like our turkeys? Jenkinson said it won’t likely be until sometime next year. The best advice is to find your turkey now or find alternative meat.

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