EINNEWS, November 24—Across the U.S., sellers of fresh, free-range, certified-humane and anti-biotic-free birds are finding a bigger market this year than ever.

Once the province of smaller grocers, mega-chains have added fresh, organic turkeys to their inventory and that has resulted in a much larger base of loyalists, even at higher prices.

The average price for a turkey last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, was $1.19 a pound. Fresh turkeys range from $1.99 for a natural turkey to $3.99 for an organic bird. Heritage turkeys can run more than $100.

At Caveny Farm in Monticello, Ill., the bourbon red turkey, which takes six months to mature, is the bird of choice because of its flavor and appeal to its customers, owner John Caveny told the Chicago Tribune. The breed originated in Pennsylvania.

“People need to start thinking about their turkey in July and August,” said Caveny, who expects to sell more than 700 turkeys in the Chicago area for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Day holidays.

A 16-pound Caveny Farm bourbon red turkey is $110, about $6.88 a pound, according to cavenyfarm.com. Nationwide, a 16-pound store-bought turkey averages $17.66, about $1.10 a pound, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“We sell out every year,” said Caveny, who started raising turkeys about a decade ago.

According to the turkey federation, the amount of turkey consumed since 1970 has gone up by 109 percent.

Americans ate, on average, 17 pounds of turkey in 2009. An estimated 46 million turkeys will be cooked on Thanksgiving, and 22 million will make their way to the table on Christmas.

For more organic food news, visit Organic Food News Today (http://organicfood.einnews.com), a organic food media monitoring service from EIN News.