The pandemic has brought waves of ups and downs to the turkey business.
Kyra Tafel, a livestock farmer at Meadowsweet Farm in Hawley, Massachusetts, says that business originally boomed last year during the pandemic.
Customers were happy to have a direct source of meat amid supply-chain disruptions that left many grocery-store shelves empty.
Then the reduced size of family Thanksgiving gatherings in 2020 meant customers wanted smaller turkeys, which she didn’t have.
That’s when business started to slow again.
As vaccination rates went up, customers who found Tafel during the pandemic started to return to their normal shopping habits at stores. Sales dropped.
“A lot of people said that maybe this would be good for local agriculture. It definitely seemed that way last year,” she said. “And to see it kind of drop off again this year is a little disappointing.”
She’s hoping Thanksgiving 2021 might change that for Meadowsweet, which is part of Sidehill Farm.
High vaccination rates in Massachusetts and in nearby states could mean larger Thanksgiving gatherings— and larger turkey orders.
James O’Donnell has this video report from Hawley.