With turkeys in short supply across Canada this year, experts say Vancouver Island won't need to worry

If turkey is on the menu for Christmas Day this year, you may have heard the news that Canada’s turkey stocks are at a 30-year low. That has many rushing out to secure that perfect bird now, but on Vancouver Island, you’re not going to have to worry.

“We have been assured that we are getting our turkeys,” said Rick Fisher, owner of Glenwood Meats.

At Glenwood Meats in Langford, turkey orders have been coming in fast and furious.

“I think right now we’re somewhere around 300 turkeys ordered,” said Fisher.

Fisher gets his turkeys out of Manitoba and he’s pre-ordered 500 of them.

His only concern is getting them here. Despite heavy rains that caused major damage to roads in the Interior, he has been assured his order will arrive.

“Storage stocks across the country are low,” said Michel Benoit, general manager of the BC Turkey Marketing Board.

That’s due to a couple of factors. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down Turkey farm production across the country and last summer’s drought has made wheat in short supply and expensive. Farmed turkeys are predominately fed wheat to fatten them up.

“We do remain fairly optimistic that we will have enough turkey supply in British Columbia,” said Benoit.

The reason for his optimism is all those washed out roads in the interior. That damage means not as many turkeys will be shipped east, keeping them here on the coast.

As well, the devastating flooding that happened in the Fraser Valley only affected two turkey farms in the Lower Mainland.

“In fact, if the logistics continue, you’re going to have more than enough turkeys because Victoria and the Lower Mainland would be about the only places that our processors can ship them to,” said Benoit.

What this all means is that getting a turkey this Christmas shouldn’t be a problem, but because of this summer’s intense heat and the price of wheat, you may have to pay a little bit more this year’s bird.

“That has increased our cost significantly and so those costs are going to be passed along to consumers,” said Benoit.

Back at Glenwood Meats, Fisher has a good reminder to everyone about what Christmas dinner is all about, whether turkey is being served or not.

“It’s family gatherings and more importantly who’s around the table, not what’s on the table,” said Fisher.