Thanksgiving dinner costing families more this year

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The countdown to Thanksgiving is on and this year the cost of filling up your stomach for the holiday feast will cut deeper into your pocketbook.

Once again the traditional Thanksgiving dinner will cost you more money. "It really is because of the star of the dinner and that's the turkey," explained Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau.

The American Farm Bureau Federation said the cost of a 16-pound turkey is up more than six-percent from last year to just over $23. The farm group also said a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for 10 people will be just over $50 this year. Some blame the jump on an Avian Flu outbreak that killed millions of birds earlier this year. But Jacobsen said that's not the case in the Central Valley. "California was not as affected as other parts of the country. But still there is the very real possibility that we're going to see a shortage of turkeys and obviously then that continues to drive up the price a little."

Jacobsen points out Central Valley consumers have an advantage over the rest of the country when it comes to other items at the dinner table. "We're so fortunate because so many of these crops are being grown here on a local basis that there is the very real possibility that a family of 10 here on the local level could probably get it cheaper than the $50."

Jennifer Allen of Kingsburg said shopping at a local farmer's market is just one way to save money. "You can go out and buy those produce items instead of just using it from a can or using it from a box. Those items have gone up considerably."

Allen also said you should also look at items you already have in your kitchen and to use those items as substitutes. But most important, be prepared with a list when you go shopping. "Writing down items on a list and not being brand loyal and be willing to make sacrifices in one area where there's a side dish so you can have a better turkey or have that really nice dessert."

She adds you can always ask your dinner guest to bring a side dish to help you stretch your budget.
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