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November 16, 2001   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
November 16, 2001

"Montgomery, Ala." Despite higher prices for the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, shoppers could spend less on their holiday meals this year according to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey.

Reports collected from around the state Nov. 1-8, showed the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving feast will be slightly more expensive with turkeys ringing in at $1.05 a pound, up 10 cents from last year, while smoked hams averaged $1.47 a pound, up 3 cents. Other staples of holiday cooking, however, were expected to be less expensive this year. A one-pound package of stuffing mix was $2.55 a pound, down a quarter, and sweet potatoes were a nickel cheaper at 67 cents a pound. A bumper crop of pecans this fall also was good news for holiday bakers as the average price of pecan halves fell 51 cents a pound to $6.14. Cranberry sauce was basically unchanged from a year ago with a one-pound can selling for 91 cents, down 2 cents. Fresh produce prices were mixed with apples averaging $1.00 a pound, down 5 cents, while oranges were 53 cents higher at $2.61 a pound.

Meanwhile, the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $38.55 in November, down 63 cents or 1.6 percent from last month, but $1.30 higher than a year ago. In the dairy case, bargain hunters stocked up on butter they will need for pecan pies as prices retreated 27 cents a pound to $3.00. Those who prefer their pie al a mode, however, were disappointed to discover ice cream prices were up 16 cents to $3.04 for a half gallon.

On the produce aisle, shoppers enjoyed savings on red potatoes, which were 59 cents a pound, down 8 cents, and lettuce, which averaged $1.00 a head, down 9 cents. But cold weather had a chilling effect on the supply of tomatoes, causing prices to edge 7 cents a pound higher.

Families seeking a break from holiday leftovers might want to consider pork and poultry this month. Pork prices fell 4.4 percent with chops selling for $2.95 a pound, down 13 cents, and bacon was 21 cents cheaper at $2.74 a pound. Whole fryers also were a best buy at 84 cents a pound, down 7 cents. Beef prices, however, were 1.2 percent higher with T-bone steaks averaging $6.29 a pound, up 13 cents, while chuck roasts were $2.44 a pound, up 11 cents. Eggs were 85 cents a dozen, up 3 cents.

Regional reports collected at supermarkets around the state showed the market basket averaged $36.62 in northwest Alabama, $38.44 in the central counties, $38.83 in the northeast corner of the state, and $39.92 in south Alabama.

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