Fretting about cost of Thanksgiving turkey? This local farm’s birds are inexpensive and tasty

 Fretting about cost of Thanksgiving turkey? This local farm’s birds are inexpensive and tasty

The escalating cost of whole turkeys due to a deadly spread of avian influenza that has killed an estimated 6 million gobblers in the United States in 2022 is forcing many families to turn to an alternate main meat dish for Thanksgiving.

The United States Department of Agriculture reported in October the price per pound of an eight- to 16-pound turkey had increased 73 percent since fall of 2021.

Thanks to a local turkey farm, spending-conscious southeast-Michigan families don’t have to break from tradition (the National Turkey Federation estimated 88% of families in the United States eat turkey on Thanksgiving).

A spokesperson for Roperti’s Turkey Farm, located at 34700 Five Mile Road in Livonia, said the price of their free-range turkeys has risen an average of just 12% since last Thanksgiving – a reality that may make you reconsider serving ham or chicken on turkey day.

“For the most part, the bird flu affected turkeys on the large commercial turkey farms, the ones that sell their turkeys to the store-bought brands,” the spokesperson said. “We breed and raise our turkeys on our five-acre farm, so we haven’t been affected by the flu.”

The Roperti-raised turkeys aren’t just more cost-efficient than the ones you’d purchase at large chain grocery stores during the next few weeks, the spokesperson said; they taste better, too.

“Our turkeys are very tender and moist because we feed them only natural feed grains … corn, wheat and oats, and we don’t pump any chemicals into them,” she explained. “Because of the way they’re raised, there’s more breast meat on our turkeys. We’ve been doing this for 75 years, so we know what people want in their turkeys.”

Even though Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, it’s not too late to order a Roperti’s turkey – but you shouldn’t wait too much longer.

A group of Roperti's turkeys chill on a recent unseasonably warm November afternoon.
A group of Ropertis turkeys chill on a recent unseasonably warm November afternoon

“The weather has been so nice, I don’t think reserving a turkey for Thanksgiving has been at the front of a lot of people’s minds around here,” the spokesperson said. “But it’s supposed to get cold in the next few days. When the weather turns, that’s when our orders start rising.”

Roperti’s customers’ turkeys are fresh dressed just 24 hours before they are available to be picked up.

The Livonia turkey farm is currently taking orders by phone at 734-464-6546.

The business sells birds that weight from 20-25 pounds and 25-28 pounds.

Ed Wright

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