Local Grocery Stores and Turkey Producers Helping Iowans Celebrate Thanksgiving on Smaller Scale

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DES MOINES, Iowa– Thanksgiving is officially one week away and many people will be celebrating differently in 2020.

The CDC has recommended that people limit Thanksgiving gatherings this year. However, according to a survey conducted by the media marketing company, NC solutions, 80% of Americans still plan on celebrating the holiday. 

Hy-Vee is modifying its traditional holiday meal packs to be more accommodating for those celebrating on a smaller scale. 

“Typically we had those for the larger gatherings just a convenience standpoint,” Director of Strategic Communication for Hy-Vee, Dawn Buzynski said. “But now we are offering them for a family of two or a family of four because we do recognize that most people will be celebrating in a smaller group.” 

Whole Foods and Costco are among other grocery stores who will be offering pre-cooked meals for the holiday. 

For those who plan on preparing their own Thanksgiving meal, award-winning chef, Michael Ruhlman, said the worst day to go grocery shopping is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Instead, culinary experts advise people to wrap up the bulk of grocery shopping by Monday. 

Hy-Vee suggests going shopping early, before 10 a.m., for those who want to avoid large crowds. 

Thanksgiving is also a huge day for turkey producers. According to the Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa raises over 11 million turkeys a year. Like most industries, local turkey farmers saw a decline in the need for their product due to the pandemic. Executive Director at the Iowa Turkey Federation, Gretta Irwin, said turkey producers are helping people celebrate in a COVID-19 friendly way. 

“If you don’t want to do a whole bird there’s plenty of Turkey breasts that are available, there’s turkey tenderloins. We’ve had calls and requests for getting turkey thighs and Turkey drumsticks where people just want to do specific cuts. There’s a lot of options to do besides that whole bird.” 

There are over 130 turkey farms in Iowa. To assist these farmers, Governor Reynolds has put together the ‘Turkey To The Table’ program, where Iowa-farmed products are utilized and made available to feed Iowans in need. Food banks have received 41,000 pounds of turkey and turkey producers have been granted $100,000. 

To handle the holiday rush this year, Hy-Vee recently announced that it is in need of both part and full-time employees, in fact they’re hiring 1,500 people in Des Moines. 

Buzynski, said they’ve seen online orders nearly triple since the start of the pandemic.

Hy-Vee has been stockpiling supplies in their distribution centers, anticipating another shutdown. 

“We’ve been planning for this. We’re not limiting items at this point but it is something that we are looking at and we’re monitoring and evaluating every day. If we need to limit items, we may just make sure that we have plenty on the shelves for all of our customers.” 

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