As we were doing our weekly grocery run for those items that can’t be purchased at the Farmers’ Market or grown at home a trend was noticed, not for the first time. After picking up a couple of items that were lighter than they used to be, I noticed this. Rather than keeping food products the size they used to be and raising the price as needed to keep the business afloat, they decrease the package size and keep the price at the old level, or only slightly more expensive.
You used to buy a pound of coffee but now the packages are 8 or 12 ounces, sugar for making jams used to come in 5 pound sacks, now they are 3 or 4. We buy an inexpensive cat food to supplement the diet of our barn cat and you could buy it in a 4 pound jug that could be refilled with bags until the jug dried out to the point of having to be recycled. Then I noticed that the bags no longer filled the jug and when I needed to replace the jug, they were no longer available. The kibble is now in a 3 pound bag for the price the 4 pounder used to cost. These are just a few of the items, look at jars of nut spreads and mayo, most are fewer ounces than just a few years ago. Some of these items are available in bulk at the natural food store, so the price is reflected by the ounce and you buy what you need, but it has made me notice when the foods are prepackaged, even items we don’t purchase.
Our grocery budget reflects this as the items must be replenished more often, so there isn’t a saving and the illusion that prices haven’t gone up is purely that, an illusion.
Time was spent in the garden a couple days ago, the corn is down and tossed to the chickens to peck for bugs and ears too small to harvest. Much weeding was done, but the Creeping Charlie is taking over and must be eradicated somehow. The asparagus ferns were attacked with hedge clippers that didn’t begin to cut through them, so a stalk at a time being cut with a small cross blade clipper. They are only about 1/3 down and the pile of dried ferns is huge. They have to be dragged over to the burn pile and not composted because of the threat of asparagus beetles. Some people burn them in place, but my asparagus are in a wooden box, so no fires in my garden, plus it is only feet from my main chicken coop.
More walks this week, one along an old now paved rail grade. I love the cut through the hillside, it is always cool and damp no matter how hot the afternoon temperatures.
Sumac and wild asters lining the trail.
And another evening harvest and canning session.
The beans harvested that night for dinner were tough and tasteless, that season is done. The tomatoes are ending, but the peppers continue to overwhelm. The rest will be left on the plants to ripen to red for drying and fermented hot sauces.
The chicken molt has taken its toll on the egg business, In 3 days there have only been 5 eggs from 15 hens. There are no pullets ready to replace them as the schedule didn’t allow for raising day old chicks for 5 weeks this summer. The old girls will be replaced before next summer and will be culled before next molt season. Usually at least part of the flock is replaced each year so some hens continue to lay, but the entire flock were raised at the same time and are 2 1/2 years old. Laying will probably be scarce after the molt due to age and cold weather coming on. This may be a winter with no hens. Rural King can order me chicks now and they could be ready to lay by spring. Something to consider.