Rising food costs don’t deter Summit County community from hosting Thanksgiving meals

Shoppers walk past the frozen turkey crate on Wednesday, November 24 at City Market in Breckenridge, where Kroger brand turkeys are advertised at $ 0.57 a pound. The price is unchanged from November 2020.
Lindsey Toomer / Daily News Summit

If your wallet is a little thinner after shopping for all the ingredients for your Thanksgiving meal – or maybe your meal at a local restaurant – there’s a good reason. According to the 36th annual survey According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal is up about 14%, or about $ 6.41, from a year ago. The bureau reports that the average meal for 10 people this year is $ 53.31 while last year it averaged $ 46.90.

Not surprisingly, the main factor behind the price increase is turkey. The bureau reports that a 16-pound turkey costs around $ 23.99, which is a 25% increase from last year.

Local turkey prices don’t tell the same story. A November 2020 commercial for Safeway boasted that a fresh 10- to 22-pound Butterball turkey cost $ 2.29 a pound. This year, a fresh Butterball turkey costs $ 1.99 a pound, down 13%.

Even the cost of some products has gone down. Last year’s City Market ad said fresh asparagus and Brussels sprouts cost $ 2.49 a pound, and this year’s ad said the same costs $ 1.48 a pound, or a drop of more than 40%.

But other holiday items have seen prices soar. Last year’s City Market ad said a serving of Cook’s smoked ham cost $ 0.97 a pound, while this year’s ad said the same item costs $ 1.27 a pound, an increase of more than 30%.

While some food costs are on the rise, leaders of local businesses and organizations are not letting this stop them from providing quality, reasonably priced Thanksgiving meals to the community. In fact, Jay Beckerman, owner of Bistro North in Dillon and Blue River Bistro in Breckenridge, said he doesn’t plan to increase the price of his Thanksgiving meals.

“The price of dinner had really not changed over the past seven to eight years,” Beckerman said. “We think… it’s community service, and while there has been an opportunity to increase prices – and it shows on our regular menu – we don’t think Thanksgiving is the time to try to. really make the cost changes. We really want to offer the three course dinner for families and be accessible and really be in that spirit.

Beckerman’s Thanksgiving three-course meal is a $ 42 special that includes a butternut squash bisque followed by a traditional turkey dinner main course that includes a stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, a casserole of green beans, a mixture of vegetables, a sauce with fresh cranberries and a brown sauce. The meal is completed with a pumpkin cheesecake.

Of all the items he specially ordered, Beckerman said it was the turkey that rose the most, followed by dairy products such as heavy cream and butter. All of the Thanksgiving meal items are made from scratch, which Beckerman says helps cover costs in addition to sourcing many items locally.

Even still, the bulk orders he has placed over the past few weeks have shown that these dinner specials are popular. Example: Beckerman said his team makes 45 gallons of butternut squash bisque, 400 pounds of mashed sweet potatoes, 15 gallons of cranberry sauce and 200 pounds of Brussels sprouts, all of which will help serve 800 guests in person and one. other 300 guests to take away.

Tim Applegate – managing partner of restaurants including Quandary Grille and Sauce on the Maggie, both of which offer Thanksgiving meals – said he must have hiked prices slightly, but that didn’t really reflect the impact of the current inflation.

“We have seen an increase in the cost of food of about 10% this year compared to last year,” Applegate said. “… We have increased (prices) slightly, but it’s hard to pass it all on.

For now, Applegate has said it plans to blame this on stabilizing the economy after the pandemic and hopes prices will return to normal within a year or so.

When it comes to free community meals, the annual meetings of Father Dyer United Methodist Church and Summit County Rotary Club don’t appear to be as directly affected by the price increase. Jan Cornwell, who coordinates Father Dyer’s dinner, said that to his knowledge the price of food items had not gone up when planning the event. On the contrary, she’s more concerned with the number of people looking for a free dinner, as she believes it speaks to the county’s food insecurity.

“Four hundred people in Breckenridge need food for Thanksgiving, and then there’s the Rotary Dinner which serves another 300 people from across the county,” said Cornwell. “The food insecurity in Summit County is no joke.”

As prices rise in virtually every market, there is still plenty to be thankful for in Summit County, given that establishments are operating with in-person meals this holiday season when they were only doing takeaways around the same time last year.