Local turkey business sees strong sales amid inflation

Sable Landes pulls a turkey for a customer's order Monday in the Bowman Landes store. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Sable Landes pulls a turkey for a customer's order Monday in the Bowman Landes store. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

A local business that specializes in fresh turkey products has seen a strong holiday season this year despite rising inflation nationwide that are driving up prices.

Bowman and Landes has raised 75,000 free-range turkeys this year, and has a retail store just west of New Carlisle. The business has been operating for decades and its busiest month has traditionally been November, due to the demand brought on by Thanksgiving.

The business has seen strong sales this year as more people are expected to gather for the holiday, thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine. The demand for turkeys in a variety of sizes have gone up as a result.

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However, this Thanksgiving is also coming at a time of inflation, primarily due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. That has caused overhead and feed costs to go up for Bowman and Landes. A tight labor market has also caused labor coast to go up.

Drew Bowman, co-owner of Bowman and Landes, said that they have been fortunate to be able to find labor, especially seasonal employees, as this time of the year is usually the busiest for the turkey operation.

The rise in feed for the turkeys as well as packaging and other overhead costs have forced Bowmen and Landes to raise its prices accordingly. But that hasn’t impacted sales.

The company is on par to have record sales this year, Bowman said. That’s driven in part by a demand for a variety turkey sizes, especially larger birds.

Bowmen said they have raised 75,000 turkeys for this year. The News-Sun previously reported that the farm raises on average about 65,000 free-range turkeys each year.

In addition to selling birds for Thanksgiving, Bowmen and Landes offers a variety of products, including deli meats and bone-in turkey breast.

More people are also feeling comfortable this year to partake in holiday festivities and that can contribute to a higher demand for turkeys, especially larger ones.

Smaller family gatherings last year due to the coronavirus pandemic led to a demand for smaller turkeys and that caused Bowman and Landes to be sold out of turkeys that were 20 pounds or less.

Bowman said they prepared accordingly this year, and more smaller turkeys were raised. However, there has been a return in demand for larger turkeys since more people are planning to get together due to vaccines or are feeling more comfortable to gather amid the pandemic.

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Bowman said they are pretty much sold out of most of its Thanksgiving turkeys with some smaller sizes still available.

By selling fresh turkey product, Bowman’s operation is also not feeling the impacts of there being less inventory in the traditional frozen commodity turkey market this year when compared to 2020. That shortage can impact grocery stores that may have less variety of turkey sizes to offer customers.

“If you step back and look at the national picture, it seems like there are less turkeys out in the grocers this year,” Bowman said. “I think in light of that, we are seeing a lot of people are looking for turkeys because they may not be finding them elsewhere,” he added.

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