Dairy and Bacon Prices Down, Apples Too

Lower retail prices for several foods, including whole milk, cheddar cheese, bacon and apples resulted in a slight decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $54.14, down $.12 or less than 1 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 decreased and six increased in average price.

Higher milk and pork production this year has contributed to the decrease in prices on some key foods.

“Energy prices, which affect everything in the marketbasket, have been quite a bit lower compared to a year ago. Processing, packaging, transportation and retail operations are all fairly energy-intensive,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. Lower energy prices account for much of the modest decrease in the marketbasket.

CS15_128 Fall Harvest Marketbasket SurveyThe following items showed retail price decreases from a year ago:

  • whole milk, down 17 percent to $3.14 per gallon
  • bacon, down 11 percent to $4.55 per pound
  • apples, down 7 percent $1.45 per pound
  • shredded cheddar, down 5 percent to $4.56 per pound
  • flour, down 4 percent to $2.37 per five-pound bag
  • bagged salad, down 4 percent to $2.46 per pound
  • vegetable oil, down 3 percent to $2.61 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • Russet potatoes, down 3 percent to $2.64 for a five-pound bag
  • white bread, down 1 percent to $1.69 for a 20-ounce loaf
  • chicken breast, down 1 percent to $3.42 per pound

These items showed modest retail price increases compared to a year ago:

  • eggs, up 56 percent to $3.04 per dozen
  • orange juice, up 7 percent to $3.43 per half-gallon
  • ground chuck, up 6 percent to $4.55 per pound
  • toasted oat cereal, up 3 percent to $3.09 for a nine-ounce box
  • sirloin tip roast, up 3 percent to $5.67 per pound
  • sliced deli ham, up 1 percent to $5.47 per pound

“As expected we saw higher egg prices because we lost so much production earlier this year due to the avian influenza situation in Iowa, Minnesota and some other Midwestern states,” Anderson said.

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.21; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.79; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $4.16.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

 

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $54.14 marketbasket would be $8.66.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a Spring Picnic survey, Summer Cookout survey, Fall Harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 69 shoppers in 24 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.

Omelet Bites

Pg A5 - Recipes- Omelete bitesIngredients

8 eggs
¼ cup milk
salt and pepper
¼ cup each of “add-ins” such as peppers, green onions, mushrooms, zucchini, your favorite breakfast meat
2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray 12-cup muffin tin generously with cooking spray.
2. Crack eggs into large liquid measuring cup (one that has a pouring lip). Add milk, salt, and pepper and beat vigorously.
3. Divide “add-ins” among the 12 muffin cups.
4. Pour egg mixture over “add-ins”.
5. Sprinkle cheese over each omelet.
6. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Run a knife around each cup to loosen the omelet. Serve immediately.
8. Omelets may be frozen for later use. Thaw in the microwave.

 

Savory Cheese Puffs

cheese puffsIngredients

2 large eggs
1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese
¼ cup cottage cheese
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 (16 oz.) package frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
Unsalted butter, melted (approx. 1 cup)

 

Directions

1. Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute; add cheeses and beat to combine.
2. Unfold phyllo and cover with a slightly damp towel as you work to prevent the pastry from drying out.
3. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a flat surface covered with wax paper; cut into 3 strips (12”x6” each).
4. Brush lengthwise half of each strip with butter; fold strips in half lengthwise, and brush with butter.
5. Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture onto the base of each strip; fold right bottom corner over to form a triangle. Continue folding back and forth into a triangle, gently pressing corners together.
6. Place triangles, seam sides down, on ungreased baking sheets and brush with butter.
7. Repeat procedure with the remaining phyllo sheets, cheese mixture, and butter.
8. Bake at 375º for 15 minutes or until golden.

 

Yield: 4-5 Dozen

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Recipe - Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole2This recipe uses leftover chicken and ham.

Ingredients

1 lb. pasta (penne is suggested; rotini was used in the photo)

1 cup cubed leftover cooked chicken breast

1 cup leftover cooked and cubed ham

1 1/2 cups milk

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons dried minced onion

2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

A pinch of cayenne pepper

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup butter, melted

 

Directions

1. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente (follow package directions). Drain and return to pot.

2. Add chicken and ham. Toss to combine.

3. Preheat the broiler.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream cheese and minced onion over low-medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until is becomes a smooth sauce (about 15 minutes).

5. Stir the milk mixture into the pasta.

6. Add the Swiss cheese. Stir. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

7. Transfer the pasta mixture into a baking dish and top with Panko crumbs.

8. Pour melted butter over the crumbs.

9. Broil until golden brown ( approximately 4 minutes).

Slow Cooker Corn and Jalapeno Dip

dipIngredients

4 slices bacon, diced

3 cans whole kernel corn, drained or 3 pt. frozen or fresh (blanched) corn

2 jalapenos, seeded and dices

1/2 cup sour cream

8 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, shredded

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz. cream cheese, cubed

2 tablespoons chopped chives

 

Directions

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.

2. Place corn, jalapenos, sour cream and cheeses into a slow cooker; season with salt and pepper, to taster. Stir until well combined. Top with cubed cream cheese.

3. Cover and cook on low hear for 2 hours.

4. Uncover and stir until cream cheese is well combined. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 15 minutes.

5. Serve immediately, garnish with bacon and chives.

 

Yield: 6 Servings

 

 

 

Recipe from damndelicious.net

Photo courtesy: Lois Linke

Pizza Waffles

DSCN4310Ingredients

1 can Pillsbury Grands biscuits

8 slices mozzarella cheese (or 8 oz. shredded cheese)

6 oz. package of pepperoni slices (you won’t use the whole package)

2 cups pizza sauce

Directions

1. Heat Belgium waffle maker or George Foreman Grill

2. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut a slit on one side of the biscuit, forming a deep pocket.

3. Place 1 slice or 1 oz. of shredded cheese into each pocket. Top the cheese with 4-6 pepperoni slices. Press dough around edge to seal each biscuit.

4. Place one biscuit on center of waffle maker or George Foreman Grill. Close lid; cook 2-3 minutes or until the biscuit is golden brown. Repeat with remaining filled biscuits.

5. Serve with pizza sauce.

 

Note: These waffles are good hot or cold. That is why they work well for a lunchbox sandwich substitute.

Yield: 8 servings.

New Arrivals

Rancher holding calfFebruary and March may seem like a cold and gloomy time of the year in Nebraska, but for many farmers and ranchers it’s a time of excitement, little sleep and extra care to welcome the new arrivals on their farm – calves.

Across the country there are two distinct seasons in which the majority of calves will be born. Farmers and ranchers signify them as fall and spring – even though calves can be born any day of the year. For many farmers across the country, the spring calving season is beginning, and we’ll be seeing many new calves in pastures and fields in the next few months.

After awaiting the arrival of the calves for nine months, farmers and ranchers spend extra time checking their cows when calving season arrives. Farmers often check on them multiple times throughout the night and some even set up cameras to watch the cows 24/7.

Much like a nurse, farmers and ranchers are on call to assist their mother cows in giving birth when complications arise. Farmers must take extra care with heifers, female cows that have not given birth before. Also, once the calf has arrived, farmers and ranchers sometimes need to play the role of lactation therapist to teach the calves how to eat and the cows how to nurse to insure calves get a healthy start and have enough to eat.

Occasionally, mother cows are not able to produce enough milk or are lost in the birthing process. If this occurs, farmers and ranchers bottle feed calves until they are able to eat grain and hay.

Despite the extra time and care required during calving season, farmers and ranchers know that the calves they help welcome into the world are worth the late nights and early mornings.

Learn more about Nebraska’s farmers here.

 

–Kassi Williams is a proud farmer’s daughter growing up on a cow/calf and grain farm in Iowa. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University, majoring in both animal science and public relations. She has been involved with agriculture from birth, working in multiple facets of the industry including the USDA and Extension. Kassi relocated to Nebraska in 2010 to work for a marketing communications agency for a multitude of agriculture clients.