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Local business owners respond to high turkey prices ahead of Thanksgiving

Piedmont Triad News

(WGHP) — Lots of people are heading to the store to get the supplies for their Thanksgiving feast this weekend.

Like almost everything else in the store, you might notice higher prices or constrained stock for your Thanksgiving goodies, even the turkey!

Butterball’s CEO says smaller turkeys may be harder to find this year than they have been in years past.

Jessica Evans of Evans Family Farm believes this is a result of labor shortages that have impacted almost every industry since the pandemic. The Evans family has had turkeys for the past four seasons, and Jessica says the demand for smaller birds has increased.

“People are having smaller gatherings. People aren’t traveling as much,” Evans said, adding that their target market of 10-15 pounds birds has led them to harvest their turkeys a little earlier.

The demand is there, and if you’re willing to go local, the supply is there too. “We’re seeing grocery store prices go up, shopping from your local farm is not going to be much different from what you’re going to see in stores,” Evans said.

For some business owners, turkey isn’t just a holiday hustle, it’s a year-round livelihood. Just as Alex and Kassinda White of Sweet’s Turkey BBQ in Greensboro.

“Our main supplier, the prices are very high. So in order for us to keep our prices comparable, we’re having to go and search different areas, different prices where there are sales or where I have a relationship with another manager in another store so we can get a good deal and keep our prices comparable for our customers,” Alex White said.

These business owners say that if you’re going to pay more no matter what, you may as well buy it locally.

“Shopping local, you’re not gonna see a huge price difference that maybe you did in previous years because prices are increasing for grocery store supply. And a lot of the buying locally and direct from a farmer goes to support your farmer, which is a huge need for local farms to be able to shift and pivot to not die out,” Jessica Evans said.

The prices are higher on all levels of the supply chain, but the Whites say that customers are understanding of these issues. “They’re definitely understanding because they’re consumers just like we are. Everyone knows at the gas station, at the grocery store, the cost of things is rising and we’re no different,” Kassinda said.

North Carolina is the second leading producer of turkeys in the country.

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