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June 18, 2002   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
June 18, 2002

"MONTGOMERY, Ala." The arrival of spring produce coupled with a surplus of cheese and butter resulted in a savings of 2.1 percent at Alabama supermarkets this month. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's June food price survey, the cost of 20 basic market basket items averaged $37.02, down 79 cents from May and down $1.68 from a year ago.

The biggest savings could be found on the produce aisle where tomatoes were $1.08, down 26 cents, and lettuce was 90 cents a head, down 4 cents. Despite dry weather in many parts of the state, Chilton County Area Extension Horticulturist Bobby Boozer said shoppers also could find plenty of fresh, Alabama-grown peaches at local farmers markets and roadside stands.

"For a lot of growers, fruit size was not a problem, because they were able to thin their trees to relieve stress," Boozer said. "With good fruit thinning and irrigation, the fruit size has been normal, and many producers were able to make a good crop."

To make those fresh peaches taste even better, smart shoppers celebrated June Dairy Month by picking up a half-gallon of ice cream. Food price surveyors across the state reported that dairy products were 5.9 percent cheaper this month, thanks to a national oversupply of butter and cheese. Ice cream was down 14 cents to $2.92 a half-gallon, while milk averaged $1.82 a half-gallon, down a nickel. Butter was the best buy at $2.48 a pound, down 27 cents.

At the meat counter, beef prices rebounded in June while pork continued a three-month slide. Overall, beef prices edged 3.9 percent higher with T-bone steaks averaging $6.39 per pound, up 29 cents. Ground beef was a dime higher at $1.60 a pound, while chuck roasts were unchanged at $2.38 a pound. Pork prices were down almost 4 percent led by a 21-cent-per-pound drop in the price of bacon. Pork chops were 11 cents cheaper at $2.66 a pound, but Boston butts were a nickel higher at $1.50 a pound.

Poultry prices retreated 2.3 percent this month after a sharp increase in May. Fryers averaged 87 cents a pound, down 2 cents, and chicken breasts were $1.68 per pound, down 4 cents. Eggs were up 3 cents at 81 cents a dozen.

Regional reports collected at supermarkets around the state June 1-7 showed the market basket averaged $34.95 in northwest Alabama, $37.41 in the central counties, $37.81 in the northeast corner of the state and $38.27 in south Alabama.

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