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Thread: So we talk about gas prices, but what about FOOD?

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    So we talk about gas prices, but what about FOOD?

    Last night, my wife went overbudget on our weekly shopping and not of any fault of her own. In fact, she was aiming to buy less than we normally do and ended up having to forego buying a couple items on the list to not go too far over the budget.

    What struck me was that a week ago, a bunch of spinach was $.89, now it is $1.50. Bell peppers have gone up too, so has coffee, and milk.

    Now, I know I am buying produce in the USA during winter. Our peppers come from Mexico right now. I understand the associated costs with gas prices rising, but now I am realizing more of the effects of the associated costs of LIFE right now. Maybe it is because we have a kid and are budgeting better, having to purchase less frivoulous things.

    So have you noticed this too? Much like $2 gasoline, will we no longer see low cost food?
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  2. #2
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I noticed it with bananas last weekend.

    Honestly, we don't have a budget for food, so I haven't really noticed if our spending has increased or not.

    We're pretty hardcore about using coupons and purchasning things in bulk when they go on sale, so we do pretty good.

    We have made a committment to buy more produce from local sources, in the hope that transportation costs won't hit us. But we've also found that some of the sellers in local farmer's markets still price their products much higher than the same product at the grocery store.

    But to your point, yes, I believe that certain products, at certain times of the year, are going to become very expensive.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Trig's in central WI,

    Strawberry's, standard 1 pound carton, $7.50

    Going to have to grow my own if I want them!
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    There's been a cold snap in Mexico that has damaged crops-mostly peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, egglplant, and corn. Scarcity has driven up the prices.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I noticed it with bananas last weekend.

    Honestly, we don't have a budget for food, so I haven't really noticed if our spending has increased or not.

    We're pretty hardcore about using coupons and purchasning things in bulk when they go on sale, so we do pretty good.

    We have made a committment to buy more produce from local sources, in the hope that transportation costs won't hit us. But we've also found that some of the sellers in local farmer's markets still price their products much higher than the same product at the grocery store.

    But to your point, yes, I believe that certain products, at certain times of the year, are going to become very expensive.
    Farmer's markets are rarely cheaper and often times are considerably more expensive than supermarkets. Quality is better though. Now that farmers markets are popular with the stuff white people like crowd I think farmers know this and charge accordingly. Best deals on produce tend to be from the Mexican owned produce markets. Around Chicago you can often get great deals buying stuff off the back of the truck.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    I'm so glad I'm not a regular coffee drinker. My parents are and they pay so much. They also like to get the high-priced specialty stuff. They're not exactly rolling in dough either, since my dad is disabled. Sometimes I wish they'd forego the coffee habit (as well as the feeding-the-birds habit) so that they could save a lot of money, but those things are really important to them. I also consistently work the coffee/condiments aisle at Walmart, and was surprised how much coffee is, even at Walmart, and even for the standard or generic brands.

    I can't believe though how much prices have gone up at some of the regular Chicago area grocery stores though. My family and I stopped shopping there a long time ago, after we realized how much prices were. I remember trying to hunt down cheese and crackers for a Christmas party, and found that a box of crackers are like $4 or $5 at Jewel or Dominick's, versus $2-3 at Walmart and warehouse store Woodmans.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    I can never tell when produce goes up because we buy mostly organic fare from trader joes. As for meat, i shop around between the grocery stores for the best deals. We stick to a food budget, which usually lasts as a month. BTW 7.50 for strawberries? That's absurd. Maybe i am too used to all the farmer market deals around here that have a 1/2 a flat for that price
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  8. #8
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    I can never tell when produce goes up because we buy mostly organic fare from trader joes. As for meat, i shop around between the grocery stores for the best deals. We stick to a food budget, which usually lasts as a month. BTW 7.50 for strawberries? That's absurd. Maybe i am too used to all the farmer market deals around here that have a 1/2 a flat for that price
    CA is lucky in that it has a diverse agricultural base and keeps your food prices reasonable. MI is like that as well, only our growing season is much shorter!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  9. #9
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jsk1983 View post
    Farmer's markets are rarely cheaper and often times are considerably more expensive than supermarkets. Quality is better though. Now that farmers markets are popular with the stuff white people like crowd I think farmers know this and charge accordingly.
    I know a few people who sell at local grower's markets here and they really struggle with setting prices. The challenge in this environment is that it is a very local market and usually the largest producer among the market sellers (which is not big at all compared to national and international agribusiness) sets the prices because few other smaller producers can compete.

    So, the farmer's who sell at these markets are a completely different crowd from those who supply to the supermarkets. I know for my friends, they definitely do not set out to charge more because they perceive there is a more affluent crowd buying their produce. They want ANY buyers because their product has a limited shelf life (especially when you can only sell to the public once a week) and they wrestle with setting prices. Also, the vendors here are not in communication with one another about setting prices. Everyone looks to each other to determine what the going price is that day and as I said, the larger producers usually set this price because they have the advantage of volume. In terms of volume, these folks will never be able to compete with the supermarkets. But the quality is much higher. Even with being so close to Mexico, I find the produce at the Mexican-supplied markets are often pretty battered and bruised from the drive up. Its cheaper, yes, but much of it gets tossed because its been through the ringer (I couldn't use half a bunch of spinach I bought after only one day recently because it was all slimy and that was the best of the options available).
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  10. #10
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jsk1983 View post
    Farmer's markets are rarely cheaper and often times are considerably more expensive than supermarkets...
    I've noticed that farmer market prices vary greatly by geography and even a distance of just a few miles can make a huge difference. We have a farmers market that is within walking distance of my house from early spring through the fall but is EXTREMELY overpriced on absolutely everything. The only good thing about it is that they have some odd varieties of really tasty peppers and heirloom tomatoes.

    But there is also a farmers market next to my office a few days a week. This location is a few miles further out from the city, closer to the actual farms, and is not an area that attracts yuppies or DINKs or the Lulu Lemon yoga moms. The foods are trucked in from actual working farms in the metro area and not from hobby farmers or the like. Their prices are actually much better than my local supermarket on just about everything they sell and starting in the late spring, I get almost all of my produce there.

    During the warmer months I'm lucky that my parents live out where there are still a lot of working farms and every time I visit them or they visit me, I get a box full of beans, potatoes, tomatoes, greens, peppers, corn, radishes, etc. And now that they've gotten chickens again, I've been able to get nice large fresh brown eggs from them again too. It's like being in a food co-op without any fees!


    Regarding prices of food at my supermarket... unfortunately, my wife and I don't eat as much fresh fruits and veggies as we should (though we've been increasing it lately) so I don't really notice the price increases since the processed foods we do eat more of aren't as effected by the price fluctuations. I do however notice when the price of red and yellow peppers goes up though because I probably go through a couple of those a week all year long!
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  11. #11
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    Well, this should come as no surprise, but the cost of food in Hawaii is about 30-40% higher than it is on the mainland. At least, that is what most of the literature about moving to Hawaii will tell you. In reality, it is more expensive, but there are a ton of alternatives. Really, the only items that are significantly more are highly processed foods - which I don't eat - and milk - which I have seen upwards of $7.00/gallon or as low as $4.50/gallon, however I don't drink milk either.

    I shop at my local farmers market where everything is grown on island and is organic. I spend about $20/week on fresh produce here. Back home (Toledo, OH) I spent about the same but the price included a few deli meats and cheese (all hail Monette's Market!)

    The big ticket items, tofu, fish (about 75% or more of our fish in the markets is imported), meat, and cheese, I buy whenever they are on sale.

  12. #12
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I'm lucky we canned and froze some home-grown tomatoes last year. When the Florida crop got destroyed, you notice how the tomato prices nearly doubled? The fast food drive throughs even have signs saying tomatoes available only on request. It looks like we'll run out of home grown maters in about another couple weeks so I wish I had grown more. This year I will.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Unfortunately, the high cost for fuel that is driving up prices for food forces more people in low-income neighborhoods to fill their families stomachs with fast food and junk food purchased at a mini-mart selling gasoline and horrible tasting sandwiches.

    Those neighborhoods are already under-served because of demographic decisions made by corporate America.

    Bear
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  14. #14
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Oh Yeah.....

    I LOVE RANIER Cherries!!!
    Something like $6 or $7 a pound here

    What is the deal with some of the bread costs?? $4 a loaf??? I won't spend more than 2$

    I wonder how much head cheese costs in North Dakota these days??

    I like Judge Wapner.....
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  15. #15
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    Since I am still out of work I do the grocery shopping and I have a list and a budget and I have noticed a drastic increase in some staples
    I look at the prices that I paid last time (yes I do keep a list of prices next to my list and I keep the old lists with the dates on them) and what I am paying currentlyl
    We are lucky that Mrs Katt is still working and we have health insurance,
    there are people that I have known for long time that are selling blood just to put food on the table, they would be embarassed if people knew but I am one of those everyman persons that people talk to and also they know that I dont repeat what I am told, Also a lot of the volunteer work that I do, we are now providing assistence to people that just a year ago were working along side of us delivering food to people and helping to pay bills, the fund raisers are bringing in less money also.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    That is really sad FatCat. I'm not sure if there is a gleaning network where you live, but from the sounds of it, one would surely be beneficial. Of course, being winter it may not make much of a difference.

  17. #17
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    Higher good prices.

    I've noticed higher prices for a number of staple goods as well.
    I have also noticed that I can purchase most fresh fruits/vegetables/herbs at a significant discount at local ethnic shops (Arab, Chinese, Mexican, etc.) and they are often of better quality than the local chains (of which there are few in Cleveland). We can almost all fruit/veg at 20-50% the chain-store cost at ethnic grocers; and we also end up having a much wider selection of 'traditional' and 'exotic' foods at those lower prices.

    I have noticed over the last three years that when I'm visiting family in Southern California the price of fresh fruits/veg is significantly higher than I can get it in Cleveland. Even at discount stores. I'm sure that's largely due to large differences in costs of doing business in these two areas. Or maybe the rent is too damn high.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    They mentioned meat on the news this morning (Denver TeeVee news? NPR? I can't remember).

    Milk, meat and grains are going up worldwide. I am tempted on:

    -Buying milk with ZBoy from a local dairy a couple miles away (he drinks 2 gallons/week)
    -Buying a flour mill and wheat berries from the food co-op for bread and pancakes
    -Buying a part of a cow from a friend for meat, raised locally on grass.

    Also, this fall, I may use my hunter's safety card for more than a drunken dove hunting expedition. There is an abundance of deer near the family cabin in the mountains, there are antelope within a morning's drive from my house on the high plains, and well, if I could bag an elk, that would provide a lot of meat for the home (cue Ted Nugent self-sufficiency rant).

    Maybe I can take some time off and meet the FIL on the Salmon River in Idaho for the Steelhead run. Those big fish can provide a lot of sustenance for a couple months if you are lucky.

    Of course, this summer, I may be looking to expand my garden and possibly get into canning.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  19. #19
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    We have an incredibly short growing season also, so I try to buy local and freeze what I can during the summer months. We aren't vegetarian, but don't eat a lot of meat so that keeps our costs down. We eat pretty frugally too so we keep our grocery bill low and haven't felt the increase too much. A lot of rice and beans, some pasta, eggs. My little guy's favorite meal is a banana with peanut butter and honey rolled up into a flour tortilla, with a side of cheese or yogurt. I confess that I partake of the same meal once per week with him, yumm.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ThePinkPlanner View post
    We aren't vegetarian, but don't eat a lot of meat so that keeps our costs down.
    Despite my last hunting-centric post, I have thought about this too.

    Maybe getting a big bag of rice and beans from CostCo and living like my uncle does when he is in Costa Rica for half the year...

    YUM! Beans and Rice!!!!!
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  21. #21
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    We waste too much food as it is...

    http://sffnb.org/history/
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  22. #22
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Speculators. http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-dev...hunger-poverty

    This is why I believe wall street is evil. Oil, housing, treasuries, food. When wall street gets involved things turn bad for everyday people.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Speculators. http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-dev...hunger-poverty

    This is why I believe wall street is evil. Oil, housing, treasuries, food. When wall street gets involved things turn bad for everyday people.
    All in the name of making a buck.

    Can someone please remind me why we allow corporations to rule the day???
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  24. #24
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    All in the name of making a buck.

    Can someone please remind me why we allow corporations to rule the day???
    It is pretty annoying isn't it? We should all just pool our money and buy an island somewhere. Maister can be our head gardener. I'll give surf lessons. Like Zman's compound but tropical and before the zombie infestation takes over.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TerraSapient View post
    It is pretty annoying isn't it? We should all just pool our money and buy an island somewhere. Maister can be our head gardener. I'll give surf lessons. Like Zman's compound but tropical and before the zombie infestation takes over.
    I do like beaches! Besides Comerica Park and Spartan Stadium, they're my favorite places to be.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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