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January's 'Basket' unchanged

Prices remained virtually unchanged in January at $93.43, and $93.96 in December. They were up 2 percent from $91.82 in January 2010.

Prices were down on produce and meats. They remained stable in all other categories: frozen foods, canned goods, drinks, breads, cereals and grains, dairy and miscellaneous items. For the year, prices are up in all categories, with the exception of an 8 percent drop on produce.

Ten pounds of round, white potatoes dropped 31 cents on average, driving that category's decrease. The cost of Iceberg lettuce is down 13 percent for the month, and 16 percent for the year. Red Delicious apples are up 3 percent locally, while they are averaging an increase of 35 percent nationally for the month.

In January 2010, a freeze in Florida was driving frozen orange juice prices up. The price has remained high, although it has decreased 3 percent since last month. Frozen chopped spinach is 15 percent lower than this time last year.

In the canned goods category, store brand vegetable soup in beef stock remained steady at an average of 99 cents for over two years. That product has increased in price over the past few months and now averages $1.08.

Sales on bottom round roast and center cut pork chops brought the overall price of the meat category down 3 percent this month. Ground chuck is up 14 percent and Oscar Mayer bacon 25 percent over last year's prices.

In the dairy case, the price of sliced American cheese rose sharply, up an average of 24 cents for the month. Oddly, the price of whole milk is up 8 percent and skim milk down 7 percent from January 2010. Butter prices continue to moderate but are still 34 percent greater than last year.

Coffee and tea, favorite cold weather drinks, continue to go up, 3 percent and 7 percent respectively for the month; 15 percent and 8 percent for the year.

Seasonal Reminders

The citrus season is at its peak and the prices are lower than in 2010. All varieties of grapes are available, and winter squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts are plentiful and high in carotene and Vitamin C.

The Market Basket Report is a bi-monthly survey of 41 commonly purchased grocery items. Four major supermarkets in the Plattsburgh area are surveyed and data is compiled and reported by the Technical Assistance Center at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

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