Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fruit prices

Sometimes when I go to the grocery store, the produce is in terrible shape. I have to re-do my weekly meal plan on the fly because the broccoli is moldy and the green beans have spots all over them and the cabbage is black around the edges and the bananas are rotting in a swarm of flies and the green onions are that freaky huge kind. And this is the stuff out on display, mind you. I sometimes wonder if there is a standard for putting a batch of produce out for purchase, and how low it must be if moldy broccoli makes the cut time after time.

Other times - and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the pattern - the produce is all gleaming heaps of fresh, verdant fruits and vegetables, and I don't even have to pick over the spoiled stuff to get at the good pieces. I love those days, and Monday was one of them. Here's a look at a good fruit day, and the prices I pay for what I buy.

(Keep in mind that to stave off sticker shock, I've made the conscious decision that UAE prices are a firm normal for me. So while I want to hear what you pay for strawberries (for example), and while I am capable of being happy for you and your rock-bottom prices, please don't judge me for spending what I do. Usually, it's buy strawberries at x price, or buy strawberries never. I choose to buy strawberries, every time.)

Bananas, usually from the Philippines (does the US have country of origin labeling these days?). These cost 5.4 dhs per kilo, and I bought 1.5 kilos for a total of 8.4 dhs. Translation: 67 cents per pound. There's not a whole lot of change in the banana stock levels or prices throughout the year. They almost always come from the Philippines, and almost always cost around 6 dhs/kilo.



Peaches, usually from Spain, Turkey, France, or miscellaneous Arab countries. These are prohibitively expensive during most of the year, but on this shopping trip the peaches from Spain were 8.95 dhs/kilo, an absolute steal. I bought 1.75 kilos for a total of 15.60 dhs. Translation: $1.10 per pound. I should note that on the same day, there were peaches from France for 30 dhs/kilo ($3.70/lb).

Strawberries, my favorite. As the year progresses, these come from different countries. In the winter, we get Ethiopian and Egyptian strawberries. Now, they are primarily from the US, and these particular ones cost the equivalent of $4.38/lb. Spinney's sometimes has some from Belgium that are the most delicious strawberries I've ever tasted, but they haven't been around recently. It's probably better that way, since they cost something like $8/lb and I still bought them. Only occasionally, and then Jeremy and I hoarded them to ourselves instead of wasting them on our kids' undeveloped palates, but still.*

Mandarins, usually from Spain or Australia - 6.95 dhs/kilo (86 cents per pound).

Limes, always from Brazil (which makes for great authentic Brazilian Lemonade) - 4.9 dhs/kilo (60 cents per pound).

Apples. Oh, apples. My love for apples is second only to strawberries, but it can't be just any apple. My favorite is Fuji, which are unfortunately rare around here. We survived on Gala (from the US or France) for a while, then switched to Ambrosia (from Italy). When there were Fuji apples, they came from China and looked wan and unappetizing. This time, for the first time, I saw decent-looking Fujis from South Africa, and snatched them up at 5.45 dhs/kilo (67 cents per pound, which price I would not believe except I still have the receipt).

So there you have it. These are the lowest fruit prices I've seen since moving here, and we are loving it!

*Upon reflection, I was really surprised the strawberries were so cheap, so I took another look at the receipt. It turns out I made a mistake somewhere in the conversion from pint to kilo to pound to dirham to dollar. I've updated the post to reflect the correct prices.

11 comments:

Crys said...

Yum, those are as low as our prices or lower! And why would people judge you...that is just silly? I mean perhaps become mad with jealousy or envy...but that's just normal :) As good as the prices were the places of origin. So interesting. Most of the stuff in the US is now marked...at least where I shop. From Mexico, from the US, From Ecuador...so far I haven't seen anything from across the ocean :)

Bridget said...

Yeah, these prices won't inspire much righteous indignation, I guess. Sometimes it's just hard to let go of the thought that someone in the US is paying 25 cents/lb for bananas and might want to gloat about their tiny grocery budget :). If anything is worth splurging on, it's produce, right? Maybe I'll deserve some judgment when I write a post about meat or breakfast cereal prices.

Jen said...

Yeah--those are at or below what I pay for produce. I always tell my husband that paying for produce is cheaper than paying for medical treatments for obesity-related illnesses. =)

Please tell: Do Italian apples taste exotic? I hope so. I did not realize that apples grew in Italy. Fun fact! (In my brain, apples are, like, this purely American food...right up there with pumpkin and cranberries...which are ACTUALLY purely [north] American foods)

Bridget said...

The Ambrosia apples were delicious, Jen. :)

Susanne said...

I haven't seen bananas for 25 cents/lb in the US in a long time. The cheapest is usually ALDI, but they have theirs all bunched in a bag so I usually get them elsewhere. I am very particular about how ripe my bananas have to be when I buy them. I don't like them very ripe.

Those apple prices are great! Actually most of those prices are reasonable except maybe the high end stuff you mentioned. But you get cheap gas and other stuff so it's OK to pay more for food, right? :)

I'm glad you had a successful fruit trip.

Kathy Haynie said...

I love the way your blog lets me in on the daily life in a faraway place. Yay for such good fruit prices! Produce, at least here in the Pacific Northwest, is NOT cheap. I'm sure that, pound for pound, you pay more for produce in the UAE over the course of a year than I do, but prices on today's shopping were not all that different from Oregon's prices.

Liz Johnson said...

Yeah, I'm shocked at how cheap these all are!! Wow. Bananas are $0.54/lb here.

Bridget said...

I happened to be at Carrefour again today and the prices had already gone up. I must have caught them on a really special day. Strawberries and peaches were each up 50 cents/pound and apples were way more expensive. I knew these prices were too good to be true!

I will admit here that the Ambrosia apples were 19 dhs/kilo ($2.35/lb) and I bought them on a regular basis.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Your fruit prices are generally not bad. I think periodically we all have to adjust to rising prices by mentally accepting a new threshold of what is too high a price. But we have to eat so we must be realistic.

Winco's bananas are about 57 cents/lb. I paid $1.25 for peaches this week but they were the white peaches which are always higher. We hope to pick fresh Veteran peaches on Saturday and they will be $1/lb. U-pick strawberries were $1/lb this year and 50 times better that what you could buy in the store for a higher price. It is not apple season right now so I don't buy them at the high prices, and because grapes, melons, peaches are in season, and we have delicious everbearing strawberries in our garden.

Broccoli is what fluctuates the most week to week. One week Winco's was 69 cents, the lowest in years. The next week it was $1.49/lb. Average is about 98 cents. But what a bargain--a lot of food value for the price, and little waste (we eat most of the stalk too). Sorry you have moldy broccoli--what gives?

Ariana said...

Our bananas at Smith's (here in the UT) are $.57/lb. Strawberries this year never really got below $1.25/lb, and they were only briefly at that price. Now it's more like $2.50/lb. Peaches....there's a tree in my backyard, so we just sit and wait till they are ripe and then eat them till we are orange and fuzzy, then can/jam the rest. And yes, there is some law now about labeling the country of origin on food. Although it doesn't help when it says "Product of USA, Canada, Argentina, or China" (like on some cheaper frozen juice concentrates).

Merkley Jiating said...

I think they have to label where fruit comes from now. I noticed that it changed last summer. Suddenly everything said the origin.

You are paying way less than I am paying in Texas and WAY WAY less than I paid in Ithaca. Wow. My brother is in Ukraine and he can't get any produce. It is way too expensive there. Like $5 for an apple. They buy canned fruit instead.

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