The Going Rate: Thanksgiving Turkeys

The big bird at the center of your holiday feast will likely cost more this year. We checked out a couple of local grocers to find the going rate for a Thanksgiving turkey.

With Thanksgiving approaching, the price of a turkey is hitting record highs, according to the website Bloomberg.com. Its report blames the high price of corn, which is mostly what turkeys eat. Local grocers echo that sentiment.

At Trader Joe’s, supervisor John Savage said you’ll pay 20 cents more per pound this year for the three types of turkey the store offers. Savage said the cost increase is due to the rise in corn feed and fuel prices. Trader Joe’s only sells fresh, non-frozen birds, free of antibiotics and hormones. A 12- to 18-pound kosher turkey is $2.49 a pound, Savage said, while the 15- to 20-pound “Big Bird” and the 12- to 16-pound “Small Bird” are both $1.99 a pound. 

Don’t wait until the last minute for your bird of choice, he cautioned. A few days before Thanksgiving, turkeys at all of their locations are likely to be sold out. Savage said that if you buy a turkey now, it could last until the first week of December in your fridge. 

Trader Joe’s, 14119 Riverside Dr.; 818-789-2771. Open daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Over at meat department supervisor Matt Urias said that customers will pay about 30 cents more per pound for turkey this year. “When the price of corn goes up, it all goes up,” Urias said. Pavilions offers four brands of bird: Safeway, Butterball, Zacky Farms and a natural, hormone-free brand called Open Nature. All four brands can be bought fresh. The first three are $1.99 a pound fresh. Open Nature runs $2.69 a pound. 

You can save some money by buying a frozen bird. Only the Safeway and Butterball brands can be bought frozen, both at $1.29 a pound, Urias said. 

Pavilions offers a way to save even more, Urias said. If you buy $25 or more in groceries, then your frozen Safeway or Butterball turkey will cost $7 to $13, depending on the size of the bird. 

Pavilions, 14845 Ventura Blvd.; 818-986-7213. Open daily, 6 a.m. to midnight.

spokesperson Kendra Doyel also attributed turkey price hikes to feed and fuel costs, but declined to specify by how much. Ralphs sells its own brand of turkey “Tendergold.” It comes frozen for 47 cents a pound. You can also buy a frozen Butterball turkey at Ralphs for $1.19 a pound. If you prefer a fresh turkey, Zacky’s brand runs $1.49 a pound, and a fresh Butterball turkey is $1.69 a pound.

Ralphs also sells pre-made Thanksgiving Day dinners, which include turkey with “all the sides,” such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and dinner rolls. Or, you can purchase a ham dinner with sides. Both are $49.99.

Ralphs, 14440 Burbank Blvd.; 818-989-5640. Open 24 hours.

o the turkey connoisseurs. It sells a variety of fresh turkeys. Mary’s Natural, for $2.29 a pound, is free-range and free of  hormones and antibiotics. Mary’s Organic jumps to $3.99 a pound. That’s because, in addition to the above mentioned attributes, this turkey is fed only an organic diet, according to meat department supervisor Moises Veliz. 

If you favor more white meat on your bird, Whole Foods sells Heidi’s Turkey. It’s a Desel Brand turkey that is “more broad-breasted and plumper,” Veliz said. 

You can also opt for the Whole Foods value bird. That’s a Nature’s Ranch frozen turkey for $1.69 a pound. It’s also free-range, but frozen, Veliz said. 

Whole Foods, 4520 Sepulveda Blvd.; 818-382-3700. Open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Sherman Oaks Patch does not endorse any particular business. We just aim to give you a good idea of the rates around town. Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

morris williams November 21, 2011 at 09:18 AM
since the turkey sellers are squeezing the masses with the high price for a bird, Be non- traditional and eat fried or bake chicken this thanxs giving. I CALL THIS NOT DOING ,IT MAY BRING THE TURKEY PRICES DOWN FOR XMAS OR FOR NEXT YEARS THANXS GIVING.


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