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November 19, 2002   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
November 19, 2002

"MONTGOMERY, Ala." Alabama shoppers should pay less for the centerpiece of their holiday meals this year, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation's food price survey. Although the average prices of some holiday items edged higher this year, reports collected from around the state Nov. 1-8 showed both turkeys and hams were less expensive.

Turkeys averaged 99 cents a pound at Alabama supermarkets, down 6 cents from last year, while hams were 20 cents cheaper at $1.27 a pound. The desert menu also should be less costly to prepare as the price of fresh, Alabama pecans fell 54 cents to $5.60 a pound. Holiday foods that were more expensive this year included cranberry sauce, up 9 cents to $1 a can, and pre-packaged stuffing, up 6 cents to $2.61 a bag. On the produce aisle, sweet potatoes were unchanged at 67 cents a pound, while a five-pound bag of oranges was 80 cents higher at $3.41. Apples were up a nickel to $1.05 a pound.

Meanwhile, the Farmers Federation's monthly survey of state food prices showed the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $38.07, up 13 cents or three-tenths of 1 percent from October but down 48 cents from a year ago.

Pork was the best buy this month with chops averaging $2.93 a pound, down 8 cents. Bacon also was a bargain at $2.72 a pound, down 13 cents. Poultry prices were mixed with whole fryers falling 4 cents to 83 cents a pound, while chicken breasts were up 2 cents at $1.74 a pound. Beef prices rebounded this month with T-bone steaks selling for $6.31 a pound, up 36 cents, while ground beef averaged $1.60 a pound, up 14 cents. Shoppers could save on chuck roasts, however, as prices fell 16 cents to $2.32 a pound. Eggs were a nickel higher at 91 cents a dozen.

In the dairy case, prices were 1.3 percent lower with a half-gallon of milk averaging $1.78, down 4 cents. Butter also was cheaper at $2.34 a pound, down 16 cents, while a half-gallon of ice cream was up 3 cents to $3.15. Rounding out the survey was a seasonal increase for tomatoes that pushed produce prices 2.2 percent higher. Across the state, tomatoes averaged $1.38 a pound, up 17 cents, but lettuce was a dime less expensive at 96 cents a head.

Regional reports collected around the state showed the market basket averaged $36.39 in northwest Alabama, $36.64 in the central counties, $39.33 in the northeast corner of the state and $39.69 in south Alabama.

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