To raise turkeys this year or not

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OK, so here’s what’s going on. It is time for me to think turkeys. My supplier will have my turkeys available mid-June, so while everyone else is heading off on vacation, I’m thinking Thanksgiving. Ha! I’ve already had close to a dozen people ask if I will be raising turkeys again this year and if so, they want one! Wow! What a compliment! Thank you. But I am in a bit of a quandary. Do I raise turkeys?

This year I switched to organic feed for my chickens. While I knew the transition would be difficult for some of my customers, I really didn’t expect my numbers to be off this much. Last week, my numbers came back up a little. I sold 40% of what I would have sold last year at the market. That doesn’t surprise me. I expected a 50% change in my clients. I knew it would be hard. But I have also had weeks where I only sold 11% or 14% of my usual sales. That is difficult… We have only been at the market for 4 weeks this year. Maybe things will improve.

But it does make me seriously question raising turkeys. If my numbers are this far off, should I even raise turkeys this year. Will my customers make the price change? Will they be willing to make the same investment in their health as I choose by eating organic, pastured meats? At what price point is the time and effort it takes to raise and process turkeys worth to my customers? As much as I love you guys, I cannot lose money on this venture. Are customers willing to pay $7 – 8 or more per pound? Do I not raise organic turkeys and go back to a conventional feed?

If I do raise turkeys this year, I will raise the Broad Breasted White Turkeys. They are preferred. (Although I do have a handful of heritage birds available. If that is your preference, let’s talk.)

So many questions. So little answers. I could use feed back from you. What would you do?

2 Responses to To raise turkeys this year or not

  1. Lynn@AndreasHomestead.com says:

    This is from a discussion I was having with one of my customers.

    OK, let’s do the math. The average turkey I sold last year was 18 lbs. Lets speculate that the organic pasture raised turkeys sell for $8/lb. That’s $144 for the turkey. An 18 lb turkey is 50.4 servings per turkey (an average of 2.8 servings per pound of meat). If the turkey is $144 and you get 50.4 servings per turkey then the cost per serving is $2.86. That doesn’t account for all the other possible uses for that meat as opposed to just having sliced turkey that may stretch the meat further  (ie turkey soup, casserole, bone broth, etc).  So, is as much as $2.86 per serving too much to spend for your holiday turkey? That’s the question. http://www.eatturkey.com/foodsrv/manual/purch6 

  2. Aymee Campbell says:

    I’m not a customer (yet), but I figured I could chime in on this. I came across your page because I am moving to Apex and am researching my local food options that follow the guidelines of what I choose to primarily consume. As far as turkey goes…I personally could care less about them. I don’t dislike turkey, but I’m a single person and it simply is too much food for me to deal with at a time. One turkey could last me a year probably (I also eat a heavy plant based diet and enjoy meat maybe two times a week). If you did decide to do turkeys this year maybe do a 50% non-refundable deposit or something along those lines to at least help offset the cost? I gladly pay a fair price for my food, with meat being at the higher end of my price point. If I had a family to feed, then I would definitely look at paying $150 for a turkey because of all the meals I could get out of it. 🙂

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