This holiday season, Californians are expected to serve up to 12 million turkeys – that’s 120,000 tons – in what amounts to a month long fling with America’s native bird. High gas prices have raised food prices. But turkeys may be last in the price-spike pecking order. "The turkey prices that grocery stores and supermarkets pay were set months ago."
Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation in Modesto, explains why turkey prices can remain low. "They signed contracts for ”x”-amount of turkeys, and that’s what they’re buying them at. Consumers are going to find turkeys at all prices and I’m guessing as cheap as free, if you buy “x”-amount of groceries."
Some turkeys will never be free, unless you count the “free” in free-range. Mary Pitman of Mary’s Turkeys raises Naragansett heritage turkeys in Sanger California. This year, Mary’s Turkeys will be $4 a pound. "We kept our prices down the last three years, We did raise them this year because the feed had gone up for us this last year, twice for the organic feed, in the last two years."
Nature gave heritage turkeys abilities that conventionally-raised turkeys don’t have. "They run and they fly."
But not far enough to avoid shipping them without paying for gas.