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Customers turning to local farmers when turkey shopping this year amid supply chain issues

Supply chain issues could create turkey troubles for last-minute shoppers
Posted at 9:39 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 23:23:14-05

LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — If you’re contemplating a last-minute run to the store for your turkey this year, you might want to think again.

“There have been several factors that have caused issues at every stage of the supply chain from production to logistics and shipping to retail,” said Rob Ikard, president of the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association.

It's those factors he said that could also make a difference when you check out.

“It’s getting more expensive to get the product from the producer to the grocery shelf and that’s reflected in higher labor costs, you know we’re having to pay people more to get them to come to work, and it’s also reflected in fuel prices,” said Ikard.

That’s why some are skipping the store altogether and instead are turning to other local options.

“We’ve been inundated with calls about turkeys,” said Karen Overton, the business manager of West Oak Farms in Lebanon.

She noticed an influx of customers at the start of the pandemic when store shelves went empty.

“When the pandemic hit I think so many people didn’t know where to go and we had people coming out here buying freezers full of meat,” said Overton.

Now it’s no different for Thanksgiving — she’s already sold out of turkeys. “I have a waitlist and I’ve told everybody now on the waitlist that I don’t have any more birds,” she said.

While her farm has been put to test, this Thanksgiving she’s thankful for the new wave of customers.

“The more people buy from farmers and tell their friends and their neighbor about it the more people support their locally grown and support their neighborhood farms and I think that’s so important,” said Overton.

But Ikard said if you choose to shop at a store instead of a farm, buy your bird as soon as you find one. While everyone will have a turkey this year, the procrastinators may not have the specific turkey they're looking for.