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Grocers on wild goose chase for Thanksgiving turkeys

Staff writer

During last year’s quarantined Thanksgiving, many people had no need for a Butterball capable of feeding an entire extended family. This caught many grocers in Marion County off-guard.

Carlsons’ Grocery, Dale’s Supermarket, and Peabody Market order traditional holiday food like Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas hams three to six months before the holiday. They had an oversupply last year when quarantined families didn’t have the appetite for what they’d ordered.

“Not a lot of people were getting out as much, and there were not a lot of family gatherings, so our turkey sales were down,” Peabody Market owner Catherine Gilley said. “I think people got smaller things. We had a lot more ham, or people asking for small turkeys.”

Gilley had problems getting small turkeys at the time.

“It’s kind of hard, because we order by pound range, but it seemed like everything in that pound range was at the larger end,” she said.

Despite current distribution issues nationwide, Gilley hasn’t had trouble stocking popular ingredients for this year’s Thanksgiving.

“So far, so good,” she said.

Mitch Carlson at Carlsons’ Grocery in Marion said his holiday ingredient supply and turkey orders were catching up.

“We overstocked a little bit last year but were able to get rid of them by Christmas,” he said. “Smaller turkeys were doing better than the big turkeys.”

He is seeing trouble with pie filling, however — specifically Libby’s 100% Pumpkin. His supplier’s warehouse has only 300 cases of pumpkin puree, enough for only six moderate-sized stores.

“We got lucky last year and were mis-shipped 20 cases,” he said. “We said, ‘We’re just going to keep it.’ We had no problem going through it.”

Dale Franz at Dale’s Supermarket in Hillsboro has noticed demand for certain foods shifting.

“You just never know what people are going to do and what’s going to happen each year,” he said. “A lot of people stayed home instead of going elsewhere. It seems one year everybody leaves and goes to their relatives, and another they all stay here.”

He has also seen more people — including his own family — getting away from traditional dishes and serving steak or Mexican food for the holidays.

Last modified Nov. 4, 2021

 

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