My take: Thanksgiving dinner, cheap turkey and inflation

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Let’s talk turkey.

Earlier in the week, the Delaware Farm Bureau passed along its annual Thanksgiving Dinner survey.

The average cost of a turkey dinner in Delaware came in a few dollars above the national average.

In Delaware, the cost of a dinner for ten is $64.05 or less than $6.50 per person coompared to $61.17 nationally. According to data from the national Farm Bureau, Delaware’s average Thanksgiving dinner cost in similar to other states across the northeast.

Nationwide, the cost is about four and a half percent below a year ago, but 25% above the 2019 figure.

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Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers checked prices Nov. 1-6, before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices.

According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys declined further during the second week of November.

“Traditionally, the turkey is the most expensive item on the Thanksgiving dinner table,” said AFBF Senior Economist Veronica Nigh. “Turkey prices have fallen thanks to a sharp reduction in cases of avian influenza, which have allowed production to increase in time for the holiday.”

In Delaware, the price of turkeys fell to as low as 35 cents a pound. That could shave upwards of $20 off the cost of the 10 person dinner.

We were reminded this week that bird flew is still around with news that a flock on the Eastern Shore of Maryland appears to have a fast-spreading form of the virus.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray (Dr. Oz called it crudite during a TV commercial during his U.S. Senate campaign that pointed to high food prices), and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. All come with enough to to serve a family of 10 with leftovers.

My favorite leftover is a version of Capriotti’s Bobbie, with turkey and a touch of stuffing and cranberries. Hold the gravy.

The survey is a reminder that Delawareans and Americans enjoy low food prices when compared to many other countries.

None of this minimizes the plight of people near or at the stage where food prices lead to food insecurity, a nice word for hunger, or the challenges facing farmers who face high feed, seed and fertilizer prices.

Farmers, like consumers, also face a world of giant global corporations that can limit price competition, even when the price of raw materials come down.

The Farm Bureau also called for a revised farm bill that will reduce some of the well-intentioned but often burdensome regulations that make staying on the land more difficult.

The Farm Bureau Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of holiday meal costs over the years. The Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

In Delaware, adding a bottle or two of wine or cider, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese and even lasagna, might be a good idea going forward.

Have a happy and safe holiday. You may be able to work off some of that dinner by raking the leaves that dropped during yesterdays period of rain and high winds. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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