Families May Be Forced to Buy Bigger Turkeys this Thanksgiving

Families May Be Forced to Buy Bigger Turkeys this Thanksgiving

November 23, 2020 News -- KRJB-KRJM-KKCQ 0

By Mark Askeson markkrjb@loretel.net (11/23/20)

Pelican Rapids, MN — This Thanksgiving, families across the nation are being asked to skip their traditional large gatherings and celebrate the holiday with their immediate family only. This likely means less interest in large turkeys and potentially less interest in a turkey all together. So how will this impact the turkey industry and our local turkey growers? We caught up John Gorton, a 3rd generation turkey grower from Pelican Rapids, to find out. Gorton says their biggest impact came from this spring during the early days of the pandemic when the processing plants shut down, and they were forced to hold on to their birds longer than anticipated.

The aftermath of this spring’s shutdown and less large family gatherings this Thanksgiving is that consumers will likely find less smaller birds to choose from this year. However, Gorton remains hopeful that families still stick to Turkey as the main course, and hopes they enjoy eating leftovers.

The market for turkeys, specifically whole female birds like Gorton produces, has actually remained strong over the pandemic as more families were home and spent more time grilling and cooking turkeys over the summer. It has not been as strong, however, for growers who sell male birds, which are used more often for turkey breasts, deli meats, and for commercial restaurants uses. With people avoiding restaurants and not traveling, the market for male birds has been more significantly impacted and still hasn’t recovered.

As you might imagine, the Gorton family will have a turkey on the table this Thanksgiving. Ironically though, for nearly 50 years they still buy a turkey from the grocery store like everyone else…a bird that they may have grown themselves. John says he still gets a great deal of pride in raising a product that people enjoy and is the centerpiece of their gatherings throughout the entire year.

Want to know where your turkey came from? All Jennie-O turkeys have a code on them which can be entered on the Jennie-O Turkey website by clicking on the Turkey Tracker tab.

Listen to the full interview with John Gorton this Tuesday at 11am on 106.5 KRJB or listen to it below:

Interview with John Gorton – Pelican Rapids Turkey Farmer