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September 22, 2010   Email to Friend 

Melissa Martin
(334) 612-5448
September 22, 2010

As autumn arrives, so do sweet potatoes -- a favorite vegetable in southern households. Averaging at less than $1 per pound this month, they're healthy, versatile staples. One snack idea? Sweet potato fries. Slice; sprinkle with salt and pepper; bake and enjoy!
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- As autumn begins, the oppressive heat of summer finally loosens its grip, allowing cooler temperatures to creep in and giving leaves and acorns the chance to fall. While shoppers this month won't be as thrilled about the modest increase on grocery receipts, they should bear in mind that like the seasons, lower prices will cycle back around. According to the latest results from the Federation's monthly food price survey, the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $55.04, up $2.05 or 3.9 percent from August.

A jump in meat prices was the significant factor behind higher receipt totals this month, with bacon, steak and pork chops leading the price surge. Bacon increased 44 cents to $5.09 a pound, while T-bone steaks increased 29 cents to $8.56 a pound. Pork chops increased 26 cents to $3.59 a pound. Other price increases affected chicken breasts, up 16 cents a pound to $2.21; chuck roasts, up 15 cents to $3.45 a pound; and whole fryers, up 7 cents to $1.23 a pound. Ground beef prices were unchanged, averaging $2.47 a pound. Meanwhile, Boston butts decreased 12 cents to $1.76 a pound. Eggs increased 40 cents to $1.66 a dozen.

Though shoppers also noticed moderate price increases along the produce aisle, potatoes were more affordable. Red potatoes and sweet potatoes were both down 4 cents a pound this month, averaging 79 cents and 98 cents a pound, respectively. Salad ingredients were a bit pricier in September, however. Tomatoes were up 11 cents a pound to $1.52, while lettuce increased a nickel to $1.51 a head.

Prices in the dairy case weren't exempt from the increases found in the rest of the store. Butter increased 10 cents a pound to $3.96; cottage cheese increased 5 cents a pound to $2.59; milk increased 4 cents to $3.05 a half-gallon; and ice cream increased a penny to $3.96 a half-gallon.

Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers throughout the state September 1-10 showed the market basket averaged $54.28 in northeast Alabama, $54.64 in northwest Alabama, $55.74 in central Alabama and $55.85 in south Alabama.

Alabama Farmers Federation, a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, is the state's largest farm organization. Its county members conduct the informal monthly market basket survey as a tool to reflect retail food price trends.

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