Thanks to farmers, Thanksgiving a real bargain this year

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Susan Ladenburger of Stratton joined 108 other shoppers from throughout the United States last week to check the price of Thanksgiving dinner items for 2004. What Susan -- and the other shoppers -- found is that traditional Thanksgiving food items are priced less this year than they were a year ago.

She was doing the Thanksgiving meal shopping survey as part of a national price check by the American Farm Bureau. As a member of the Hitchcock County Farm Bureau, Susan did her shopping survey at C&K's Supermarket in Stratton.

The items checked were turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk.

Along with volunteers in 30 other states, Susan submitted her price findings to the American Farm Bureau, which also calculated prices for miscellaneous items needed to prepare Thanksgiving dinner, such as eggs and spices.

When all findings were calculated, the Farm Bureau determined the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people this year is $35.68 -- an average of $3.56 per person.

Helping keep the cost down were decreases this year in the price of turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, celery and carrots. Average turkey prices were estimated at 89 cents a pound, a drop of nine cents from a year ago.

Items that increased were pumpkin pie mix, pie shells, frozen green peas, whole milk, whipping cream, fresh cranberries and brown-and-serve rolls.

Farm Bureau started doing the Thanksgiving dinner shopping survey in 1986. In that 18-year team span, the price of the selected Thanksgiving Day food items has increased just $6.94, going from $28.74 in 1986 to this year's total of $35.68.

"When you think about it, it's nothing short of amazing that 10 people can enjoy this holiday meal for well under $4 a person," Mrs. Ladenburger said. "We need to remember how blessed we are to have an abundance of healthy, well-priced food -- largely because of the American farmer."

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