Local grocery stores weigh in on turkey shortage as Thanksgiving approaches

Local News

Less than one month from now. millions of American families will be gathering for Thanksgiving.

However, one Thanksgiving essential may be missing from the dinner table, a turkey.

The reason is a trickle down effect. One local grocery store usually gets about a thousand turkeys a season, their suppliers are working at about half the usual workforce, which means further turkeys to sell

Back in July, turkey suppliers told Urbaniak Brothers Quality Meat that they would have plenty of turkeys by Thanksgiving. Now, they are saying they do not have enough.

“The problem is in the packing houses. When COVID-19 initially hit, a lot of packing houses experienced a lot of infection at their plants. A lot of people got COVID.” said Gerry Urbaniak, Owner of Urbaniak Brothers Quality Meat.

The CDC said workers were too close together, so they recommended that they spread out.

“Unfortunately, when they moved everybody apart from one another, they only had half of the number of workers they started with because there was not enough room to put any more people with that requirement,” Urbaniak said.

That resulted in producing only 50-60% of what they normally processed.

“The trickle down effect from that was the turkey and chicken growers that supply the packing houses had no place to send their turkeys and chickens because the processers could not process them fast enough,” Urbaniak said.

This forces the suppliers to stop raising new birds as they had in the past. It’s not just turkey as well, other Thanksgiving favorites are going to be hard to put on the table this year as well.

“If you see something, corn, cranberry sauce, or anything, is to get it when you see it,” said Daniel Serafin, Owner of Serafin’s Food Market. “Don’t wait, don’t be that last person because you go into stores and you see the empty shelves.”

Gerry Urbaniak says they anticipate a return of enough product by late spring or early summer. So, the holidays in 2022 will have enough supply.

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