Friday the thirteenth. According to this morning’s headlines, the US annual inflation rate is only 6.5%. The “core” inflation rate (excluding the volatile food and energy sectors) is 5.7%.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the price of organic apple juice at the local Walmart was $2.29 for a half gallon until a couple of months ago. Now it’s $3.27 for that same half gallon. That’s an increase of 43%.
On January 14, 2022 I bought a 25 pound bag of California grown organic brown basmati rice for $68.09. Today that same bag of rice sells for $90.53. That’s an increase of 33%. Fortunately, a long grain organic brown rice grown in Missouri is available for less. At least until they divert the Mississippi River to California.
As prices have gone up, quality has gone down.
I buy organic when I can, so my experience may not be the norm. I buy potatoes at the local farmers’ market and I usually have some available in storage until around Christmas. Last year, in January when I started to buy potatoes at the supermarket, they were wrinkled, rubbery and had eyes. They could not have been from the 2021 harvest. At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, there was not a single potato available around here for months. Someone had bought them all up. I figured the ones offered for sale in 2022 were the ones purchased in 2020 and hoarded for two years.
Last summer, one of the farmers at the market told us he was selling a lot of potatoes to local restaurants. The restaurant owners were telling him they were paying $50 for a 50 pound bag of potatoes from their conventional sources and half of them were rotten.
When I made my first trip to the store after the “two weeks to flatten the curve” lockdown announcement, the only thing available in the produce department was 5 pound bags of carrots. The other departments were similarly desolate. Frozen food took a very long time to recover. I can’t remember whether potatoes or toilet paper reappeared first.
Back to the issue of quality.
I buy dried fruit in the winter. Last year it was simply not available. This year I bought one bag that was “rehydrated”. The fruit was damp and sticky and not very satisfactory. Then I bought some that were not rehydrated. The fruit is very dry. Now I know why the first one was rehydrated. I’m guessing all this fruit was purchased by a hoarder after the 2021 harvest and released to us peons a year later.
My preferred apple juice is organic and unfiltered with no additives. There is a brand produced in my home state of Pennsylvania that I have bought for years. Last year, it was unavailable from early July until early December. When I was able to buy it, some of the bottles had started to ferment, even though it was pasteurized. I could not find an expiration date on the bottles. This juice could not have been from the 2021 apple harvest. This year that brand is not available at the store where I usually buy it. I would wish for Biden to release some like it from the Strategic Apple Juice Reserve, but probably he would only release fermented bottles.
The orchard that produces this apple juice is in the eastern half of the state near the Maryland border. It’s relatively convenient to DC. I speculate that the government is buying it up. It might be stored in the Continuity of Government complex which is rumored to be in (or under) Greenbrier County in West Virginia.
And finally, there’s honey. I buy mine locally. Although the price has gone up, the quality is still good. But with Biden at the helm I’m confident there will be mandatory “vaccination” of honeybees by the end of the year.
Because your unvaccinated honeybees cannot be allowed to endanger your neighbor’s vaccinated bees.
And then there’s the reason that will never be stated. If Covid vaccine uptake through the shots has fallen to disappointing levels, we’ll just have to put the vaccine in the food supply. And we can’t let any uncontaminated honey slip through to people.
When the rule goes into effect, I guess I’ll stop buying honey.
So what’s the food situation like in your part of the world?