Maine Farmers Experience High Demand for Fresh Turkeys

The farm-to-table movement may be influencing what's on your Thanksgiving table this year, as more people turn to local farms for items like turkeys.

"I think people realize you can find just about everything for your Thanksgiving meal locally, and people are really trying to do that now," said Laura Grady, owner of Two Coves Farm in Harpswell, Maine.

Grady said each year, her farm tries to raise more turkeys to keep up with demand.

This year, they raised about 100 turkeys.

"We always sell out," she said, adding that her customers prefer farm-fresh to store-bought because her turkeys taste better -- and take less time to cook.

"Fresh always tastes better," said Ann Lebourdais, buying her bird from the farm Tuesday.

According to a survey by Forager, a farm-to-table purchasing platform, 83 percent of Maine consumers surveyed planned to source food locally this Thanksgiving.

The Maine Department of Agriculture reports a 30 percent in live turkey poults brought into the state this year, signaling a strong turkey farming industry.

"The increase in local, organic pasturing is on the rise, so it's made things like this a lot easier to sell," said Gregg Stiner, pointing to his flock of organic turkeys at Grace Pond Farm in Monmouth.

When he started his business with his partner Rhiannon Hampson three years ago, they raised 220 turkeys. This year, they raised 350.

"[Customers] like the fact that they can see the turkeys out on the pasture, eating grass," said Stiner.

The certified organic turkey can come at a higher price. Stiner said expect to pay between $5 and $7 per pound.

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