Americans consume around 50 million turkeys during Thanksgiving week alone every year. Retailers need to plan up to 6 months in advance to ensure they are stocked with a sufficient amount of turkeys, sufficient storage, workers, and transportation to meet the crazy Thanksgiving meal demands.
How do these feathery creatures get from the farm onto the dinner plate?
Let’s take a glance at the complex process of getting a delicious turkey onto your thanksgiving dinner plate. Because MBMI is a company centered around metal buildings, we will be specifically looking at the buildings in which these turkeys are raised, stored, and processed from farm to table.
Not surprisingly, frozen turkeys take up 90% of Thanksgiving sales due to the fact that these turkeys can be bred, processed, and frozen year-round. Fresh turkeys, on the other hand, require more meticulous planning since they only have 21-days of shelf life. Timing is everything, ensuring that producers can successfully deliver fresh turkeys to retailers just in time for a delicious Thanksgiving meal.
So where do Metal Buildings fit into the whole Thanksgiving process?
The Turkeys Process starts at the Metal Barn
Most turkeys in the US are raised inside metal barns for a few interesting reasons:
- Turkeys need protection from predators
- Being indoors prevents disease
- The need for a temperature-controlled environment
Metal Barns Temperature Control is critical for Turkeys
Turkeys are sensitive to temperature requiring specific temperature needs depending on their age and size.
Young turkeys need to be kept warm. To do so, steel barns are equipped with stoves or infrared and gas heaters. Good ventilation is also critical at each turkey’s state of life; to meet this demand steel barns are designed with multiple vents in the walls as well as fans that allow fresh air in.
Adult turkeys prefer things a little cooler, so these metal buildings have to be equipped and ready to keep them cool during the hot summer. Some metal barns use a system called tunnel ventilation, where part of the wall on both sides of the front of the barn opens.
Artificial Lighting inside the Metal Barn
Maintaining an animal’s welfare has become critical within parts of the poultry industry. One successful way welfare has been accomplished is by using artificial lighting to simulate sunrise and sunset. Farmers have seen a significant improvement in bird behavior and stress levels creating tastier more tender meat.
Artificial lighting is also used to manipulate mother nature. Farmers install artificial lighting that can increase turkey production and ensure their turkeys are laying eggs year-round instead of just in the springtime.
Cold Storage is critical for the Frozen Turkey Process
Like we said before, 90% of turkeys are frozen. While the demand for turkeys peaks 2x a year, there is no issue with supply due to the frozen turkey production. These turkeys need to be stored in below-freezing temperatures in distribution facilities known as cold storage warehouses that use a technique called cold storage.
What is cold storage?
Cold storage is the storage of any temperature-controlled product that reduces the risk of damage to the product, extends its shelf life, and keeps the product in line with regulations.
To maintain high-quality standards, turkey requires immediate cooling, through a process called flash-freezing. Cold air is blasted at the turkeys to quickly freeze them, preventing the formation of ice crystals that can increase perishability and affect the taste and texture of the meat. Temperature controlled warehouses store turkey at – 30 to 0°C, for a number of months.
Why are metal buildings the best choice for cold storage warehouses?
- Metal framing provides the best insulation creating significant energy efficiencies and reducing operating costs.
- A lot of metal buildings use recycled steel which is both environmentally friendly and cheaper.
- In regards to turkey and other produce, USDA requires strict cleanliness which metal buildings can keep up with. Preventing mold, mildew, and bacteria buildup.
- Steel buildings provide low maintenance, durability as well as flexibility in expanding.
The Last of the Turkey Journey
Finally, these fresh and frozen turkeys are delivered in temperature controlled trucks to our local grocery stores. Upon arrival, they are ready for families to buy them and cook a delicious Thanksgiving meal.
Knowing the hard work and complicated planning that goes into getting this delicious meal onto our plates can make us all a lot more thankful on Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving from MBMI!