Thursday, November 3, 2011

Costco prices are on the upswing again

Commercial campari tomatoesImage via Wikipedia
The 2-pound package of Campari tomatoes from Costco has
shot up to $5.99. Above, the 1-pound package sold elsewhere.

I spent more than $100 on food at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack on Wednesday, but a higher price prompted me to pass up one of my usual purchases.

Two pounds of those wonderful, small, round, hothouse-grown Campari tomatoes were $5.99, compared to $4.49 on Oct. 24. I passed.

I substituted 2 pounds of Roma tomatoes from the same grower, Sunset. They were $4.99, an increase of 50 cents.

A trio of large, hothouse-grown cucumbers were $3.99, up from $3.49 on Oct. 24. I bought those anyway.

I asked an employee why the Campari tomatoes had shot up, but he said he just stocks the produce aisles and doesn't notice prices.

Prices appear to be holding steady on other items I bought on Wednesday -- organic 1% milk, six small cartons of egg whites, 2 pounds of sliced cheddar cheese, dried blueberries, organic carrot juice, loaves of 100% whole grain bread, bananas, organic spring mix and marinara sauce.

The marinara comes in three 32-ounce bottles and is sold under the Kirkland Signature label, the Costco store brand. This is plenty for a full pound of pasta, and costs only $2.10 a bottle. 

A can of anchovies and oil cooks away, but adds robustness to the sauce.

Some of my purchases on Wednesday replaced items I had thrown out after heavy, wet snow from Saturday's nor'easter knocked out our electricity for 57 hours. Many thousands are still without power five days after the storm.

I also bought 5.5 pounds of large, crisp Gala apples from Washington State for $6.99, and a rack of pork, which my wife wanted to prepare for dinner. The pork was $3.99 a pound, with a discount of $2.50 on the package.

Even if I was eating meat, I wouldn't eat this pork, which was raised conventionally by one of the big producers. Pigs receive more antibiotics than all other animals raised on factory farms.

But my wife doesn't plan dinners, and because of trying to eat as much as possible before it spoiled on Sunday and Monday, we didn't have any drug-free meat or poultry in the freezer.

My dinner was organic spring mix topped with tomato, cucumber, olives and a can of Moroccan sardines, and I dressed the salad with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.

Later, I had one of the Gala apples with two kinds of cheese, almonds and dried dates that I also picked up at Costco.

On Tuesday, I stopped into ShopRite in Rochelle Park to replace the lactose-free milk I discarded, and picked up a half-gallon of the store brand ($3.29), Barilla whole-grain spaghetti (88 cents) and ShopRite low-fat fruit yogurt made with sugar (44 cents).

The pasta and yogurt were on sale, as were antibiotic- and hormone-free Omega 3 eggs from 4 Grain ($1.99). They made a nice scramble with a bit of milk, reduced-fat Swiss cheese and coarse Aleppo red pepper.

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