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Birds await their fate at the Willie Bird Turkey in Sonoma, Calif. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

More gravy to buy that holiday meal

Stacey Vanek Smith Nov 16, 2007
Birds await their fate at the Willie Bird Turkey in Sonoma, Calif. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


Scott Jagow: We can discuss oil prices, the weakening dollar and bank writedowns until we’re blue in the face. But what our economy really boils down to is mashed potatoes. And cranberry sauce. And green-bean casserole.

How much we pay for Thanksgiving dinner says a lot about the economic conditions. This year, the American Farm Bureau says that dinner is 11 percent more expensive than last year. Here’s Stacey Vanek-Smith.

Stacey Vanek-Smith: This year, a traditional turkey feast for 10 will cost about $42.16 — that’s up from $38.10 last year. Jim Sartwelle is an economist at the American Farm bureau federation:

Jim Sartwelle: The lion’s share of that increase came from an increase in turkey prices, and from an increase in all the dairy items.

The reason for the increases? Sartwelle says high gas prices have hit the farm economy hard, affecting everything from the cost of feed to processing to getting products on store shelves. But he points out that if you adjust the price of the meal for inflation, things look pretty good.

Sartwelle: The feast for 10 is actually cheaper now than it was 20 years ago.

Still, Sartwelle says, if gas prices continue to climb, prepare to shell out even more bread for your bird next year.

I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

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