Farmers anticipate high demand for small turkeys

Barry County

MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Many are making changes to their holiday plans this year and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, farmers are preparing for changes like smaller family gatherings. 

Thanksgiving now only days away lead us to wonder if there will be enough turkey to go around, even with families transitioning to smaller celebrations. 

“Thus far I have not seen people coming in and grabbing all they can carry out,” owner of Otto’s Turkey Farm Tom Otto said. “I’m not saying it may not happen, but I don’t think it will.”

The problem is not having enough to go around, the problem is the size of the poultry you’ll pass.

“In anticipation of smaller gatherings, we’re hitting our twelve block pretty hard,” Otto explains. 

They sell three sizes of turkeys at Otto’s Turkey Farm — 20 pounders, 15-16 pounders and 12 pounders. With the likelihood of reduced gatherings, Otto thinks these smaller gobblers could be the first to get gobbled.

“We’re still going to have turkeys and we’re still going to have family gatherings but what will change is, per the governor’s requirements, smaller groups,” Otto said. “So, something will change, exactly what it’ll be like, hard to say.”

Folks have been buying their turkeys from Otto’s in Middleville along West State Road for nearly two centuries. They sell roughly 3,000 turkeys for Thanksgiving annually, providing another 6,000 for area stores. 

Otto says their past has helped prepare them for the present so whether your gathering is large or small, he says to remember the poultry isn’t important. 

“Thanksgiving is nothing about the turkey,” Otto said. “It’s family. It’s a fellowship. It’s maybe repairing some family problems. It’s you know getting family together. It’s the reason I think Thanksgiving should be here. The turkey is just an added thing, which just happens to be great for a turkey farmer.”

If you are planning on having turkey for your holiday celebration, Otto says to act quickly as they’ve prepared roughly 100 more birds this year in anticipation of higher sales.

He also recommends leaving your bird in the freezer until Monday to give it time to thaw by Thursday. 

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