WEEK #41 OCTOBER 9th, 2023

Dear Customers,

If you think “inflation” is just something you do to your tires when the temperature drops, you’re absolutely correct.  But the term hits home in a more global context when you sit down with your checkbook to pay the month’s bills.  Something’s not right here. . . there’s more out-go than in-come!

Simply defined, “inflation” is an increase in prices which causes your purchasing power to decrease.  Or, as I learned in Economics 105, “inflation is when too few goods are chased by too many dollars”.   You see it at the gas pumps, and unfortunately whenever you buy something – including groceries.  It’s probably more noticeable at the grocery store than anywhere else since such a large percentage of your income goes to feed your family.

Our vendors, of which we have 50 or so, used to raise their prices no more than once a year on average.  Several years ago, (long before Covid so they couldn’t blame that) several of them started announcing price increases twice a year, once around January, and then again in late summer!  Over the last couple of years, a few of them have begun announcing a price increase quarterly!  The excuses are the same every time, just worded a little differently.

For instance, we just got an announced price increase by one of the bread companies.  Their letter started out in the usual way, “Due to rising operational and commodity costs . . .” Among their rising operational costs, they list 30% increases in labor, machine repair, and utilities.   In addition, their health care costs rose by 15%.  Everybody in the country wants to be paid more and get benefits.  Unfortunately, the cost increase ultimately gets passed down to the consumer.  It always has and it always will.

Enough complaining!  This is still October and as such, it’s still National Apple Month.  One product that gets overlooked because it’s not a dessert nor an entrée – is apple cider.  Hot Mulled Cider is an absolutely delicious drink to serve when the air gets crisper and the nights get longer.

2 cups cinnamon sticks 2 cups whole cloves 2 cups allspice berries
1 ½ cups dried orange zest 1 cup cardamom pods ½ cup peppercorns

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and stir.  The above amounts will make more than you need so they can be stored in sealable jars or gifted as you see fit.  You only use 2 tablespoons of the mulling spices per half gallon of cider.  Heat together a half gallon of cider with the 2 tablespoons of mulling spices in a saucepan on the stove or in a slow cooker. Serve with slices of dried apple for a real hit!