Eating Fresh Vegetables Has Gotten A Lot More Costly

Our family isn’t ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ by any stretch of the imagination.  My wife tries to cook healthy in the sense that:

  • We don’t avoid processed foods but we do try to keep them to a minimum
  • Every meal includes some fruit
  • Every meal (outside of breakfast) includes a vegetable
  • Limit consumption of red meat to once a week or so
  • Eat yogurt

These work good to keep us healthy and happy, and one of the things we do is try to eat as many of our vegetables as possible from the ‘fresh’ variety.  We try to avoid canned vegetables as often as possible, and we will eat a mix of frozen and fresh vegetables.

Broccoli and cauliflower are two vegetables we eat somewhat regularly that we prefer to purchase fresh.  The frozen type generally gives you mostly stem and very little of the ‘top’ so while the prices is cheaper, you’re definitely missing out.

I’ve been alarmed to see the price increase in these two vegetables over the last few weeks.  Last week, I was looking over the grocery bill and I pointed out that I thought $1.79 was a lot for a head of broccoli.   It’s usually $1.29 – $1.49.  While 30 to 50 cents isn’t going to break the bank, I look at it from a pure percentage increase standpoint.  A 20-30 percent increase is pretty huge, and if you carried that across all the items in your grocery bill, that bill is going to increase in a big hurry!

So, imagine my reaction this week when my wife sent me a picture on her phone with the price of $2.49!  That’s another almost 50% increase in just over a week, and practically doubled since just over a month ago.  I had to find out what was going on, so I posted about it on the Facebook wall of our grocery store.

Within a few minutes, they actually responded, linking to an article stating that fresh vegetables definitely are going up in price, due to a shortage caused by the recent cold / freezing snap out west.

Many of the fresh vegetables that are grown in California and such sustained heavy damage, and wouldn’t you know it, broccoli and cauliflour are two of the big ones.  The other more common vegetables include lettuce and spinach, which especially has gone up a lot in price (I don’t like spinach so the fact that we may be priced out of spinach is actually welcome news to me *lol*).

It just goes to show that there are a tremendous number of variables which factor into the price of our food.

I remember a few months ago there were big shortages in two other staples around our house: Coffee and peanut butter.  The prices of both of these items went up noticeably, and took a bigger chunk than normal of our Costco budget for awhile.  However, I’ve recently noticed that the big increases have steadily gone down.  Coffee, it seems, is at the same price it was a year ago, and peanut butter is still a little higher than it was before it started going up, but it’s still gone down a couple of bucks a jar.

I guess it just goes to show that there’s probably always fluctuations in prices due to variables outside of our control such as weather, transportation costs, and other things that lead into the price.

All we can hope is that the number of items affected in your typical household budget is kept to minimum as far as happening all at once, and that in many cases, we can try to find workarounds.

For us, we’ll still try to eat as many vegetables as possible, and will still try to lean more toward the spectrum of fresh vegetables, but we could always grin and bear the frozen variety of broccoli for awhile, or we could try substituting in other vegetables whose prices haven’t gone up as considerably (or at all).

Readers, have you noticed the rapid price increase in vegetables?  Do you have any suggestions other what I put forth about ways to combat the (hopefully) short term spike in the cost of these veggies?  What are your favorite vegetables?