Bringing home the bacon makes consumers squeal

Published 8:21 pm Friday, March 28, 2014

Right now, homemakers are “bringing home the bacon” but probably not for long.
If Steve Garrett, owner of Piggly Wiggly in Troy, is right, it’s soon going to take a brick of gold from Fort Knox to bring home the bacon.
“There’s no telling what the price of a pound of bacon is going to be down the road,” Garrett said. “Drought conditions affect everything from pigs to produce. But pork has got another issue going on. PEDv is a virus that affects piglets and it’s keeping pork producers from expanding their herds. The hog market is tight right now and prices are going up.”
Beef eaters are also feeling the pinch in their pocketbooks and that is the result of the combination of drought conditions and supply and demand.
“Because of the drought conditions out west, cattle producers didn’t have grass to feed their cattle so they cut back and, as a result, they weren’t building their herds,” Garrett said. “Now, we’re beginning to feel the impact from those drought conditions two years ago. The supply is down but the demand is high.”
Garrett said the cost of ground beef is going through the roof and that’s pushing the other beef prices up.
“You can blame beef prices on supply and demand,” he said. Cattle producers are slow building their herds back. So, it’s probably going to be while before the supply shows any signs of catching up with the demand.”
The good news is fish and poultry prices are holding rather steady, if oysters aren’t factored in, Garrett said.
“Oysters are the highest I’ve ever seen them,” he said. “I used to pay $18 for a 30-pound box of oysters and I have paid as low as $10, but now, 30 pounds of oysters will cost me $45. But shrimp is stable and catfish are leveling off from their high.”
The masses do like to eat meat, so the poultry market is going strong. But as the demand for chicken continues to rise, the price of poultry will also rise, Garrett said.
“Milk money” is no longer pocket change.
Milk prices are being driven up by the overseas demand for United States dairy products and concerns about drought conditions in California’s dairy country.
However, Garrett said milk prices have not spiked … yet.
As for produce, Garrett said it’s in between seasons and prices are a little high.
“It’s too late for the apple market and too early for the summer vegetables,” he said. “We’ve had a late winter and it may be as late as May and early June before we see any peas. The potato market is strong and the price of potatoes is good. We’ll have some Chilean fruit coming it and the quick-growing vegetables like bell pepper and lettuce will be available at a good price.”
With that food forecast, Garrett said, chicken and potatoes as the entrée and a side salad just might be the dinner of choice as we head into the would-be spring season.

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