Grocery list: March 24, 2013 (or a lesson in economics)

2013-03-24 at 08-31-54Today’s grocery trip took a weird turn in the canned vegetable aisle at the Fairmount Wegmans. Pine nuts, or pignoli for those of the motherland, are now stocked there instead of their former residence in the produce department. I grabbed the 3-ounce plastic package of Wegmans-brand and glanced at the price.

$8.99. For 3 oz.? I checked the label on the shelf against the package, even comparing UPCs. Sure as hell, they were $8.99.

For pine nuts? How is it possible for them to nearly triple in price since the last time I bought them (probably the fall). Well, I’ll let Bloomberg explain:

The Mediterranean region’s pine-nut harvest fell 63 percent last year after an invasive insect pest from the U.S. damaged cones from Turkey to Portugal, pushing up prices for the tree seeds used to make pesto.

“Pine-nut production in the entire Mediterranean basin has experienced a strong reduction, in both the number of pine cones and in the yield,” said Irene Girones, project coordinator at the council. “Estimates have been reduced dramatically.”

Americans, more specifically American bugs, screwed it up. And as social studies teachers and oil companies have taught us, low supply plus high or regular demand means higher prices. Bloomberg reports that Italy is paying 34 percent more per kilogram to import the nuts from Turkey, the largest grower of pine nuts in the world. Thus explains the increase from $3.99 to $8.99 at retail.

I put the package back on the shelf and opted for the smaller 1.5 oz. jar that was $4.99, since I only needed an ounce for the recipe anyhow (I had planned to freeze the rest for later use.).

Anyhow, I’m back after my hiatus. It was a simple math equation, really. Work plus work equalled tired. I have a bunch of content this week to share, plus five nights of new recipes that we’re trying around here.

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