Turkey Talk: Demand for Big Birds Potentially Decreasing During Pandemic Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving traditions and tables will look a lot different this year.

And when it comes to the turkey, finding the right size for your smaller seating could be a challenge.

Americans consume an average of 40 million turkeys each Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.

But turkey farmers across the country have been anticipating more demand for smaller birds because of the need to social distance and not gather in large groups.

The turkeys at Sub Edge Farm in Farmington have already all been reserved by customers.

“We did see in our orders a lot of the orders were the smaller birds 10-15 as opposed to the like 15-20, or 20-25,” said Alex Maldonado, livestock manager. “Generally, most of our birds are going to be 10-15 pounds, so they’re not going to be huge anyway.”

“Just a turkey breast. The turkey breast is all I need,” said Louis Floyd of West Hartford

Floyd is still going all out this Thanksgiving.

“I smoke the turkey. I’ll smoke the apple pie and some collard greens.”

Despite his much smaller guest list because of the pandemic, “I take care of 93-year-old mommy and so it’s just me, my mother and my mrs. and that’s it.”

Despite the pandemic, Connecticut’s Department of Agriculture said farms are predicting their sales will be on par with last year.

But if you already reserved a big bird but now won’t be hosting as many guests, Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt urges you to think about buying it anyway.

He said your local farmers and stomach will be thanking you later.

 “Use that leftover turkey for turkey pot pie or turkey sandwiches. These farms are really relying on us to make good on that commitment and they’ve reserved it for you.”

He also reminds people to shop local not just for the entrée, but also for those side dishes too.

“All of the winter squashes and vegetables. They go well with that large turkey.”

Since the restaurant industry demand has been down, he also suggests snacking on local cheese, oysters and sipping local wine and brews too.

While they’re already out of turkey, Sub Edge Farm suggests checking out their other meat options too.

Creating a new tradition in what’s already been a crazy 2020, “I mean Thanksgiving chicken would be great,” said Maldonado, laughing.

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