If you've been looking at your receipt after a trip to the grocery store and wondering how it got so expensive, you're not alone. While it may be that you didn't do enough coupon clipping, prices on some foods are higher than usual right now.
And since there are no warning labels near the price tag to tell you which foods are more expensive or why, it's your job to do the homework. But nobody likes homework. So I went ahead and did it for you.
Here are some examples of the best and worst buys at the supermarket right now.
While it's mostly the food and beverage industry that's been impacted by the recent lime shortage, the citrus fruit is still unusually expensive in the grocery store right now.
Mexico, which produces about 90 percent of limes consumed in America, has faced a number of issues with its lime crops recently, from citrus disease and heavy rains to delivery disruption by Mexican drug cartels.
On the bright side, industry experts expect prices to be back to normal this summer.
Just in time for grilling season, beef prices have skyrocketed. Typically, grocery stores are splashing ground beef deals all over their weekly ads around Memorial Day. That's not the case this year, perhaps because of the shortage due to a drought in the Southwest. The average price of ground beef is at about $3.55 per pound, up 56 percent since 2010, according to CNN.
Local strawberries are a good buy right now at $2.99 per pound, but those prices could start crawling upward in the coming months, according to Michael Bailey, vice president of the Vegetable Bin.
"When it gets too hot out, that crop doesn't really thrive, but they're still coming in at a good price," Bailey said.
When you buy locally grown vegetables, you're supporting nearby agricultural communities and saving money at the same time.
It's more fun to go to your neighborhood farmers market, but if you can't make it to one of those, look for local produce at Harris Teeter on East Bay Street or The Vegetable Bin.
"It's cheaper because they (fruits and vegetables) don't have to travel far, they don't have to ship it from across the country. It's picked that day, it's trucked over to the store in about 10 minutes and then we sell it," Bailey said.
Local produce that's in-season includes broccoli, green peanuts as well as pattypan, white and gold bar squash, Bailey said. Other in-season produce that's often grown locally are radishes and asparagus.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.
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