Instead of a recipe today (I know, sorry!), I want to share a key piece of information heading into the Thanksgiving season:
There is not a turkey shortage for Thanksgiving this year.
Yes, it’s true there was a terrible outbreak of avian flu that caused the death of millions of turkeys, especially in Minnesota – the nation’s #1 turkey producing state. However, there are still approximately 228 million turkeys raised annually in the U.S. this year so I promise you that the entire turkey population was NOT wiped out by bird flu.
My advice to you – be wary of media headlines that scream of a turkey shortage. (I actually had a reporter email me today with this question: “When is the expected turkey shortage going to start?” Um, you see what she did there? She made the assumption that a turkey shortage is expected. That’s what she wants to hear because it makes a much more enticing headline.)
Here are a few fun facts about Thanksgiving turkeys, courtesy of the National Turkey Federation:
- Shoppers are buying frozen turkeys, which are grown as hens and then flash-frozen in March – long before avian flu was even a headline.
- Grocers have contracted earlier this year for delivery of their Thanksgiving turkeys.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture track all these frozen whole birds in cold storage and are reporting that this year looks to be very similar to last year’s patterns of holdings.
All this adds up to a plentiful supply of whole turkeys for Thanksgiving.
As for pricing, this will vary store to store, but most supermarkets use turkeys as “loss leaders” – meaning, they cut the prices of turkeys a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving to entice shoppers into their stores to buy the other items they need for the Thanksgiving meal. In my community, Cub Foods is already offering $.99/pound frozen Jennie-O or Honeysuckle turkeys.
I’d say a buck a pound (or less) for a high quality protein that serves a crowd is an awesome deal.
Fresh turkeys, by the way, are purchased by some consumers for the convenience of not having to thaw the bird (which takes about 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds). Because of this convenience factor, though, the cost of a fresh turkey is typically higher due to special handling required by the store.
Regardless of whether you purchase a frozen or fresh turkey this holiday season, isn’t it great to know there isn’t going to be a turkey shortage for Thanksgiving?