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Yordy: Turkey Farm ‘Busier Than Last Year’ As Thanksgiving Nears

While the COVID-19 pandemic is prompting many people to change the way they celebrate Thanksgiving, business remains brisk this season at one large central Illinois turkey farm.

“Demand’s up pretty good for us,” said Travis Yordy, co-owner of the Yordy Turkey Farm in Morton. “We didn't know quite what to expect when all this hit, so we had our birds already ordered back in March (and) April, and we just decided to roll with it. It's definitely busier than it was last year.”

Yordy said the pandemic seems to have played a role in the increased business, with fewer people choosing to visit out-of-town relatives over the holiday.

“It seems like a lot less people are traveling,” he said. “So a lot of people are staying in the area, and people that wouldn't normally have Thanksgiving here in central Illinois – they're having it.

“People still want to have their Thanksgiving and they're not going to Florida and having it with cousins. They're just going to have it here, that’s kind of what we're seeing.”

Health experts have recommended smaller Thanksgiving gatherings to reduce COVID-19 transmission. With fewer guests sitting around the table, it would stand to reason people might want smaller turkeys this year, but Yordy said that hasn't quite been the case.

“We thought that they would be pretty high demand,” he said. “But it seems like a lot of people that are having Thanksgiving, instead of having 10 or 15 people they are having a Thanksgiving of five. But they still want to cook that 18-to-20-pound turkey.”

He said the farm has still sold plenty of half-size turkeys and that demand for 22-to-24-pound turkeys is down a little, but many people are sticking with their tradition of cooking full-size birds.

“Even though they don't need all that meat, they want that for leftovers,” said Yordy, noting smoked turkeys have been selling well in particular.

“It's kind of a hassle-free, you don't have to cook the turkey type of deal,” he said. “You can cut right into it. You can heat it up if you want, or you can just eat it cold.”

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