It’s barely October but Anaheim chef Frank Garcia is worried about getting enough turkeys for his annual Thanksgiving feast.
“They don’t have them,” Garcia said. “They don’t have turkeys.”
A deadly bird flu has decimated the turkey supply and has driven prices up to levels never seen before. Poultry experts said that getting the right size turkey is going to be challenging after millions of the Thanksgiving staple died because of the bird flu.
“A 16-pound, your typical turkey that you would buy in your grocery store, it’s about 40 cents more per pound more this year than last year which is already a record price,” said poultry market expert Matt Busardo.
In terms of wholesale prices, this would account to an increase of $7. The price will only go higher when retailers begin marking up turkeys for stores.
In desperate need of 500 turkeys, Garcia said he’s had trouble finding any, including the smaller, cheaper birds. The increased prices have pushed the budget of his nonprofit We Give Thanks to the limit. In addition to turkeys, his grocery budget has increased by 20%.
Garcia said he has a budget of $92,000 and can only spend between $30,000 to $40,000 on turkeys. But with the increased prices, he speculated that he might have to spend $100,000 on turkeys alone.
“I don’t want to spend $100,000 on turkeys, because I have $92,000,” he said.
Despite the challenges he faces, Garcia said that if need be he will serve turkeys and ham so no one goes hungry on Thanksgiving.