Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie quite the deal

Rappahannock County residents and fellow Virginians are feeding their families a Thanksgiving meal for about $5.23 per person this year, according to price survey by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

The average cost of a traditional meal for 10 adults is $52.30. This is based on a menu of turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, rolls, green beans, peas, celery, cranberries, milk and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Prices were reported by volunteer shoppers using no promotional sales or coupons, and did not include vegetarian and vegan shoppers who skip the more expensive meat aisle.

This year’s average represents a $1.76 increase over the 2017 average price of $50.56 for a 10-person meal.

The locality reporting the highest average cost for a meal this year was nearby Spotsylvania County, with $87.28. The lowest average cost was $50.18 in Essex County, which borders the Rappahannock River on the north and Dragon swamp on the south.

Based on surveys at grocery stores throughout the state, the Farm Bureau found the average cost of a 16-pound turkey was $20.64, or a little more than $1.29 per pound, which is less than the average $1.57 Virginians paid per pound last year.

The organization found that the average price for a 4-pound bone-in ham was $7.56; a gallon of milk was $2.99; peas were 90 cents; green beans, 90 cents; a 1-pound bag of sweet potatoes, 98 cents; a 5-pound bag of russet potatoes, $3.17; celery, $1.48; pie shells, $1.50; whipping cream, $1.97; canned pumpkin pie filling, $2.98; cranberries, $2.07; stuffing mix, $2.50; and a dozen rolls were $2.66.

Since VFBF began conducting the survey in 2003, the average cost of a family’s Thanksgiving meal in Virginia has increased by $13.20.

Nationally, an informal survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation found the average cost of this year’s meal for 10 to be $48.90, or less than $5 per person. That represents a decrease of less than 1 percent from last year’s national average of $49.12.

This is the third consecutive year that the overall price of a Thanksgiving dinner has declined across the U.S. It is the lowest it’s been since 2010.

“Traditionally, Virginia has been slightly higher than the national average basic Thanksgiving meal cost. However, if you can feed your family a meal for under $5.30 per person, then that is a bargain for which we can all be thankful,” remarked VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor.

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