Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Cost of a Thanksgiving Turkey

I get email from Farmie Market. Never bought anything from them, but I poke around their site once in awhile. The last time I looked at the site the were advertising nitrate free bacon. I sent in an inquiry to see if it was actually nitrate free (most things labeled nitrate free or no nitrates added have nitrates in the form of celery salt). The reply indicated that this bacon was in fact nitrate free. The ingredient list was pork, water, sea salt and brown sugar. The downside to this bacon was that it priced out at $18 a pound. A little to steep for me. I'd post a link to the bacon but it is currently sold out so the price wasn't too steep for everyone.

Yesterday, I got an email from Farmie Market outlining the true cost of raising a pastured turkey. Here it is.

It basically says that a farmer has $53 plus labor into a farm raised turkey. These turkeys are selling for $6.25 a pound and are delivered frozen. At that price, and 18 pound turkey costs $112. That just seems excessive to me. While it is true that meat labeling has become increasingly deceptive - organic, natural, and humane all have USDA definitions that don't necessarily match Webster's - The Co Op is selling  Local, Natural, Pasture Raised turkeys from Misty Knolls at $2.99 a pound. If you want to add organic from Jaindl it is $4.99 a pound. Comparing these farms isn't apples to apples especially with vague definitions of "pastured." Certainly a farmer needs to make a profit, but the price of a turkey breaking $100 just seems high. Although they must not be too high for everyone. They sold out last year. 


  1. Boutique food. If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
    Dave S

  2. There is definitely some truth to that.

  3. Jon - if you ask me what we can't afford, it's attitudes like the first commenters. People pay $200/mo. for cable, $200 for cell and and then question the farmer who busts their butt to produce good food. I'm in the industry and any inkling that pasture isn't better is a lie. Any insinuation that we need industrial ag to feed the world is a bigger lie. Boutique my left foot.

    1. I can't speak for the commenter, but I in no way shape or form meant to imply that pasture isn't better than big ag or that farmers don't deserve a good, living wage. And you have a very good point. Someone willing to complain about $4 for a dozen eggs won't think twice about spending $1.50 for a 20 ounce soda - that is wrong.

      On the flip side, at what price point does the price of a turkey become ridiculous? This Thanksgiving you could have bought a free range "heritage" turkey from D'artagnan for over $200. I find it hard to argue there isn't a boutique side to a $200+ turkey.,default,sc.html

      I have very little farm experience. Over the last few years I do have some experience raising steer. And from that experience, the cost of these turkeys just seems very high to me. I have never visited Misty Knolls. But their poultry is always available at the Honest Weight Co-Op and it isn't cheap.

      I don't know if the Honest Weight Co-Op sold out of turkeys this year (I picked up mine earlier this evening), but I believe that this farmer as well as D"artagnan have sold out their turkeys.