Rogers: Well, your turkey may not be as farm fresh as you hope it could be. There’s a large distribution center for a big grocery chain in Denver; and I and a couple of other supply chain professors toured it a few summers ago. They have one room at this giant distribution center that’s kept at -20 degrees, and it’s just for turkeys. That’s all that’s in there — tens of thousands of turkeys.
And I asked them the same thing: How exactly does this work? Because this is August. And I can see this room is packed with turkeys already. They said all the turkeys are sold in November and December. In January, everything that hasn’t sold gets put on sale or chopped up for lunch meat. Then they turn up the temperature in that room from -20 degrees to 50 degrees, and they spend a month cleaning it because, after having tens of thousands of turkeys in it, it probably needs a good scrub.
They start building up the inventory for Thanksgiving turkeys in February, and they build it up over the year. If you think about how many turkeys are going to be bought the week of Thanksgiving, it’s millions of turkeys. You can’t slaughter and prep and have a million turkeys in a month. It takes all year, basically. And so, the turkeys start building up in February, and they’re designed to culminate basically in November. And then we have the wind down, and we start the cycle over again. Thanksgiving is the turkey supply chain.