Are your vegetables more expensive this year?

My son sent me this picture from New Zealand of a kumara (NZ sweet potato). Not strictly a vegetable but (you get the gist) they cost $14 NZ a kilo (a kilo = just over 2 pounds) so this kumara cost $6.12 NZ which is $3.80 US for one sweet potato. To be fair the kumara is a really amazing sweet potato but a tuber never the less.

mans hand holding a sweet potato

I think the children have been painting his nails again; I am not sure about that colour!. Another member of my NZ family said that in the supermarket $5 is the new $2. No family thrives on only one income so who has time for a vege garden? (Me – I have time) It is a conundrum.

So I was wondering – have your vegetables jumped in price in the last year or so and what does a sweet potato cost at your place? When I bought sweet potatoes last in Illinois (out of season) they were $1 US a pound.

Maybe we should use potatoes as a comparison. But you see where I am coming from?

Speaking of potatoes I jammed a sprouting potato in the glasshouse because I was in a hurry (and there was a gap) the other day and it is growing like mad in there! Wait – I will take a picture for you.

This is why it takes me three hours to make a blog post each day – I never stick to the subject!

There is so much arithmetic when i compare stuff from NZ to the US – different currency and different units of measurement. And as we all know a mathematician I am not!

calves eating in large old barn with doors open to over exposed vehicles

Do you see this big steer (below). He always lays right down on his side and terrifies me because he looks like he expired in the field but when he lays back against the gate I have got to hope that the chain will hold. He is not a small animal. And the clang as he fell backwards yesterday gave me such a fright.

cream cow lying on his side  beside gate in the light shade

We are having a run of chilly mornings. This May has been lovely so far! But unusually cool.

Weather in midwest May 17 2023

We have had a little rain so far. 48% humidity. So nice. Everything is growing.

The first cut of hay is imminent – we are just waiting for those few spots of flower and some heat behind the breeze. The ground is still a bit cold. But today we will rearrange some of last years hay so everything gets stacked in the right order.

Good morning!

I hope to post from the airport tomorrow at some point but you know how that goes! If my connections do not line up I will be either running through airports or sitting in planes with no wifi – they say they have wifi on the plane but literally half the time it is not working.

There is no such thing as sustainable travel (though I do try) so my forest is growing!

Have a lovely day.

PS Substack. My playground called SubStack.

Chapter Five: From Letters To My Mother. Pop over for a read. Remember that these stories/essays are FREE for all Forever. This one is called Write What You Know and stars Mrs Mooney.

45 Comments on “Are your vegetables more expensive this year?

  1. Oh and vegetable SEEDS are definitely more expensive. We really need to focus on seed saving this year. I have lettuce going to seed as we speak that is an easy one to collect.

    • Don’t go to the store myself, the home has shopper for us. the things i buy often, like hot sauce and instant coffee cost almost twice much as same time last year. and the meals here are less varied, lower quality, smaller portions.

  2. $1.47 lb yesterday at one of the cheapest grocery stores nearby so that means probably closer to $2 lb at the pricer place near me. Yes, veg in general is more expensive here so I watch for deals until the farmer’s market opens. I don’t mind paying if the stock is nice, but most of this stuff is not great.

    That steer sleeps like a dog!

    • Yes – he does. A really huge dog.

      Statistics tell us that the price of food has gone up 3.5 so far this year but it feels like more. I guess it all depends on the weather.

  3. Veg in the UK has increased at an alarming rate. I do acknowledge that the weather obviously has an impact but l fear there is also greed at play too. Those gorgeous bobbies. Happy travels.

    • I agree Andrea, it seems that no-one can explain fully why everything has suddenly got so much more expensive since the pandemic. Transport has a huge impact. Maybe once the prices went up no-one saw a need to bring them down again?

      • You are correct and it’s called ‘the ratchet effect.’ In the wine industry, if a Bordeaux vintage is outstanding one year, the price is higher. But then that becomes the baseline and it never goes back down even in an average year.

  4. That sweet potato is expensive – I just compared supermarket prices online and the are at least half the price here. Nevertheless, everything has gone up considerably in the last 18 months.

    • The cost of food in NZ is outrageous. It really is so expensive to live there and diabolical if you don’t have a garden. Thank fully a person can grow their veg almost year round in much of NZ – being so coastal and temperate but – if every adult in the house has to work to pay for the house who has time to garden?

      • I looked up American $ to £ and you could buy almost 2.5 Kg sweet potatoes for the same price here!

  5. I’m always SHOCKED when I finally make it to the store. Our economy is in a huge mess. Thankfully we are in Spring and the growing season. Time to prepare for winter!

  6. Sweet potatoes here in Vancouver Washington cost $1.25 each! Produce has gone up so much. Scary.

    • $1.25 per sweet potato does sound like a lot. But I guess they are out of season at the moment? I agree though – eating in is getting costly now. Unless we only eat what we grow – which is not exciting but cheaper!

      • I agree- years back I had a 20’x20′ garden in our town’s community garden acreage. Lovely to grow so much of our food! Where we live
        now we do not have enough garden space to grow much more than herbs and tomatoes! Have a lovely day!

  7. In the UK: 99pence per kilo at our local Sainsbury’s, which is 56 US cents per lbs, according to my husband with the conversion app.

  8. One of the reasons kumera is expensive in nz now (in fact alot of vegetables) is cyclone Gabrielle. It decimated the kumera growing areas in nz. It’s a vegetable I haven’t tried growing, maybe I’ll give it ago this spring. We have 3 big vege gardens on our property, pretty much self sufficient in fruit and vege.

    • Yes! That is right. Just after Gabrielle ( my sisters name by the way) the highways between Napier and Hastings were littered with onions and apples.

      I love that you are self sufficient in veg and fruit. I have actually grown kumera out here in Illinois! It is pretty easy – all you need is one.

  9. Hi Cecilia, everything has gone up in NZ! Veges are very expensive Cauli each was $6.00+ for a while but now down to $5! Tiptop icecream hit $8.30/ 2l a few weeks ago and 1lb butter $6-$8
    Not a lot of scope for low income families sadly.

  10. A ongoing discussion in this house too… I love sweet potatoes especially the purple skin white centre ones. The G.O. loves all potatoes. The supermarket kumara-orange sweet potatoes are $4.50 for a kilo pack or $2 each, that price has stayed steady for a while. The supermarket standard potato prices fluctuate but there’s often specials. From the local farmer vege box/stalls all potatoes are about $8.99 per kilo for several varieties of standard and sweet potatoes which come with dirt on them straight out of the paddocks. So to balance budget, taste and ethics we buy from both. I sprout sweet potato ends and bury them in spare spots in the garden but so far there’s been lots of leaves which are edible but not much sweet potato. We’ve had little success growing standard potatoes so I bought 3 small different sweet potato starter plants and have popped them in the potato bags from our last unsuccessful efforts. On the whole even with careful shopping and cooking food is more expensive along with fuel, electricity, gas, bank interest and insurances. Thankfully what does grow in our garden… herbs, leafy greens, green beans, choko, garlic, ginger, a few cool season tomatoes, some fruit, flowers… adds value.

    • I think the garden is going to come back into play – more and more I hope. One of my personal missions is to teach as many people as possible to grow food. Great comment thank you!

  11. NZ had a very wet winter and spring last year and summer was wet too. Floods have affected crops in key growing areas such as Pukekohe and Horowhenua as well as Northland, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. Growers also mention not having staff to harvest crops and the cost of transport has gone up. Budgeting to include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is very testing and must be almost impossible for people feeding families.

  12. Like Dale, our local supermarkets are charging AU$4.50 for a kilo (2.2lb) of the red-skinned golden sweet potatoes, and that’s stayed stable for the past couple of years. I’ve found cauliflowers have become very expensive, which is tough, because I can’t grow them in the tropics and I love them. I don’t buy ordinary white potatoes but the low GI ones, which are always expensive (because diabetes) as they are a specialty item. Capsicums (bell peppers) are expensive and tomatoes are a bit more expensive. It varies by state because states that grow particular vegies obviously have fewer supply chain issues. So far, we’re having a good winter, so I’m hoping the cold climate vegetables won’t get too pricey.

  13. We pay more for less and the quality is shameful. I tried to start up our raised bed but the price for inferior soil made me clutch my pearls. Our soil is clay and needs all the help it can get. I miss growing my own.

      • I composted for years despite having to fight rats and squirrels. I bought an expensive composter. The Texas heat melted the darn thing and it fell apart. Composting in the suburbs is often easier said than done.

        Rats and squirrels are eating the neighbor’s tomatoes and sunflowers. I feel for them. The birds don’t help.

        Their chickens ( a recent venture) thrive but the eggs are small and mottled. The shells are a bit thin. I know because they often gift me eggs. The birds make a beeline to our backyard when the are allowed to exercise outside the fenced area. I feed them wild rice and oats. What the heck, huh? I pray for a nationwide return to backyard gardening. 🙂

        I feel so much better after a visit to your blog. It reminds me of my grandmothers’ farms and the summers I loved in the country.

        • That does not sound easy. Do you do any gardening in pots? My greens in pita are doing so well! Do they feed the chickens shell? Oyster shell? That should help with the soft shells on the eggs.

          I love that you are in a neighborhood that likes to grow food.

  14. Vegetables are certainly more expensive. Broccoli often $5.00.A good price for sweet potatoes is $1.79 a lb. Asparagus in season $7.00 a lb these are not organic. Sweet pepper often $4.99 per lb. The same with fruit. We order a box of veg once a month from our community health care it is $10.00 usually get 5lbs potatoes, 2 lbs onions 1 red pepper, sometime 2lbs carrots some pears, 2 oranges, 2 apples it varies with the price of a certain veggie or fruit that week. This is helpful but twice a month would be better. We have 2 acres but mostly stone I grow herbs. Have 2 water stock tanks that we are growing veg in. Radishes, lettuce, carrots. a few green bean plants and some sweet peas the flowers. The smaller tank is also for flowers, have to feed the soul as well as the body. Squash is very expensive and we often walk by the veg. isle. Buy more expensive vegetables like squash when planning s vegetarian dish. Have to go back to growing my own bean sprouts in the house but untreated seeds are expensive. I tell my husband that as seniors on fixed income we can’t eat for much longer. Fortunately we still cook and we know how to stretch out our food. It also helps that as you get older your appetite is not as large.

    • That is a terrible statement that ‘as you grow old you don’t eat as much’ And you grow so much food too- . I agree about food for the soul. It’s hard work growing a garden. Mostly watering once you are established though.

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