Farmers and butchers say Thanksgiving turkey sales are still strong on Vancouver Island even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“B.C is unique, its different, and has a responsible [pandemic] outlook,” said Dan Ireland, co-owner of Ireland Farms.
“Vancouver Island better yet, so Bonnie Henry’s talk about having 10 people in their social bubble for Thanksgiving dinner, we hope that happens and so do the stores.”
Ireland farms says they are more fortunate than others across the country since those in B.C. are able to have small dinners according to COVID-19 regulations.
For others in the industry, many are still trying to recover after they were hit hard at Easter near the beginning of the pandemic.
“Everybody was caught short this Easter when across Canada. There was no Easter dinners,” said Ireland.
“A lot of Canadian commercial growers put their birds into freezer stock, that frightens us because we already had our birds ordered for Thanksgiving.”
Butchers say they’ve seen no slow down in orders for birds.
“I think everybody has been staying at home, having small gatherings and so I sold out within a few weeks,” said Justin Berryman of Berryman Brothers and Berryman Farms.
“It has been great for everybody, everyone is thinking local buying local, it’s great to see.”
For Ireland and his wife, their farm is small and being non-commercial and free-range means the margins are tighter. They hope for government support for the sector going forward.
“They make it so cumbersome to get involved [in COVID supports],” he said
“It’s just me and my wife who run this farm, so we have no employees so you don’t get covered for programs that get hired for employees.”
As they pluck away for Thanksgiving, there is hope the current regulations will present another gift in a couple months for the Christmas season.
The B.C. CDC recommends hosts consider keeping gatherings small and limit the number of people to six per social group, keep guests in well-ventilated spaces with lots of fresh air, and following sanitary and physical distancing steps.