As American expats in Australia tuck into their Thanksgiving dinners today, many will be enjoying their feast with turkeys farmed in Bordertown, in South Australia’s east. 

Key points:

  • South Australian turkeys prove popular for American Thanksgiving 
  • Bordertown producer John Watson says transporting them across Australia takes a lot of coordination
  • He says the industry is getting back on track after major disruptions during the pandemic

Local producer John Watson said he was filling orders from supermarkets and butchers from as far north as Alice Springs, and all the way throughout South Australia.

“Nearly every customer we’ve got has got one or two Americans that shop there,” he said. 

An older man is walking through a paddock among a flock of turkeys. They're ruffling their feathers around him

Turkey producer John Watson says demand has boomed in the lead-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. (ABC Rural: Megan Hughes)

Mount Gambier-based butcher Hayden Howlett said he often received turkey orders at this time of year from other expats as well. 

“We have a couple of Canadians who every year get some really big turkeys off us,” he said. 

A white & grey haired middle aged man grins in a butchers apron in front of a display case of different cuts of meat

Mount Gambier butcher Hayden Howlett is preparing for Christmas orders to come in. (ABC Rural: Eliza Berlage)

Both Mr Howlett and Mr Watson are now fielding Christmas orders for turkeys.

‘Coordination to another level’

Mr Watson said he had taken turkey orders from some unusual places as well.    

“A few years ago, we had demand for some fresh turkey to be up at Darwin on a particular date because they had to coordinate with a helicopter that was coming in from an oil rig,” he said. 

“That took coordination to another level.” 

Big white turkeys with red & blue heads ruffle their feathers in a paddock

Turkeys grown in Bordertown will be feeding American expats across Australia for Thanksgiving.(ABC Rural: Megan Hughes)

Back on track 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Watson said the industry faced some major supply issues due to planes being grounded.

“We went for a period from late August through to the end of October this year where Virgin didn’t have any flights into Adelaide at all,” he said.

He said other forms of freight were used instead.

“We had a person who specialised in animal transport … he was able to bring them every fortnight instead of weekly,” he said. 

“Every fortnight he was driving from Bargo in the Blue Mountains to Pinaroo [in SA].”

Mr Watson said he was happy that regular air freight flights had resumed — just in time for the Christmas rush on turkeys.

Posted , updated 

Demand for turkeys soars ahead of Thanksgiving and Christmas
Source 1


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