It's summer, and Albertans are enjoying the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. But those berries, beets and bananas come at a price.
Year over year, fresh fruit prices are up modestly (+1.4 per cent), but fresh vegetables are up a whopping 7.7 per cent!
Some of the reason why fresh produce prices are up is due to higher transportation costs. Most of our fresh vegetables come from Mexico or California. Fuel costs are higher, and they're being passed on to consumers. The softer Canadian dollar is also a factor.
What can shoppers do?
1. Where possible, buy local. It might not be pineapple or papaya, but our farmers can grow a wide variety of fruits and veggies—and they don't need to be shipped thousands of miles.
2. Grow your own. Many of us already keep gardens, but there's a lot that even high-density urban dwellers can do. It takes a bit of work, but fresh patio tomatoes and strawberries are delicious.
3. Re-discover canning and preserves. There's a reason Albertans have managed to live here for generations—they made it through the winter by canning, freezing and keeping vegetables in cold storage.
We live in a world where strawberries, grapes and lettuce can arrive from anywhere in the world, even in the middle of January. But being price conscious in the grocery store means we take a second look at all of the incredible fruits and vegetables that can be grown right in our backyards.
Todd talked about this recently as part of The Hoot, a regular radio segment on Calgary Today on Newstalk770 with Angela Kokott and on 630 CHED with J'lynNye and Andrew Grose.