ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – You can’t have Thanksgiving without the star of the meal, the turkey. You might need to go without this year. With inflation, supply chain shortages and the avian flu; the cost of turkeys has skyrocketed – that’s if you can even find one in Abilene markets.
The United States Department of AgricultureMore than 5 million turkeys were killed in the recent avian influenza outbreak. Avian flu (HPAI), a highly contagious, deadly virus that is transmitted to humans by birds migrating from other countries, can kill up to five million turkeys.
Byron Stephenson (owner of Shed Market) said that the restaurant is out of turkey since about a month.
“We use a raw, boneless, skinless turkey breast,”Stephenson explained. “We thought [turkey] would be pretty easy to come by, but from what our suppliers are telling us, the avian flu has wiped out a big portion of those turkey flocks.”
Stephenson said he’s been a restaurant owner since 2018. With his wife Stacie, he opened Buffalo Gap’s Shed Market. In all his years as a business owner, Stacie said that it was the highest price he’s ever seen for supplies and food.
The Shed is adapting to this shortage by offering other options to turkey on its Thanksgiving menu.
“We’re going to push more pork. We’re doing a stuffed [pork] loin with stuffing; it’s wrapped up and smoked. I think everybody is going to love it, we had a lot of orders for those already,”Stephenson accepted. “Of course, brisket, prime rib, things like that – a lot of people traditionally did. We’re still going to do a lot of those, just not going to have that turkey.”
Avian Flu also reached egg-laying chickens. This has increased the cost of baking ingredients.
Leslie Bivens is the owner of Life of Pie. She said that her bakery will extend Thanksgiving pie orders until November 8, so enough stock can be ordered in time to meet requests.
Life of Pie will increase the price of a whole pizza from $24 – $26, as a response to rising supplies costs. This is in line with dairy product prices.
“Every time that we get our delivery on Mondays, and I look at the cost of eggs, I have little heart palpitations,”Illustration of Bivens “About this time last year, we were paying about $25 for 15 dozen eggs. When we got them this past Monday, it was right at $80.”
Bivens stated that she urges everyone, no matter if they make or buy their own pie, to think ahead and plan for Thanksgiving.
“I would say, ‘get some butter now, freeze it now. Go ahead and stock up on any sugar, anything you will need for your baked goods,’”Advisory Bivens
According to experts, this is a year when everyone needs to plan and be ready for alternative Holiday meals. You should be aware that deadlines can affect your ability to order thanksgiving dinner.