COLLEGE STATION — Easter is on its way, and good supermarket deals in March will help consumers fill their holiday baskets. The first hint of spring will see the return of some vegetables and domestically grown strawberries as well.
Dr. Richard Edwards, Extension agricultural economist in College Station, said Easter essentials like candy, flowers and hams probably will be on sale throughout March. He said hams should go on sale in the middle of the month.
“The price is going to depend a lot on the type of ham that it is,” Edwards said. “If it is a bone-in, water-added butt portion, it’s probably going to be in that $1.09 to $1.19 range.”
Edwards added that the boneless portions may be in the $2.29 to $2.39 range, but all ham portions will be on sale for the holidays.
Other Easter items often served with ham, such as sweet potatoes and marshmallows, probably will be featured. Edwards said sweet potatoes have been on special all season for around 39 cents a pound, and that should continue throughout the Easter season.
More good news in March, Edwards said, is the return of domestically-grown strawberries in higher quantities. In a marketing move, strawberries were sold by the pound during the winter. Now, they’ll be priced by the pint.
“All winter long we’ve hoped that strawberries would drop down below $2 a pound…but usually we’ll see the return of purchasing them by the pint,” Edwards said, “and when they first come on sale, hopefully they’ll drop down below a dollar a pint and that means, in retail terms, 99 cents.”
Strawberries should drop down into the 69- to 79-cent range as the month progresses, Edwards added.
Vegetables that will be coming to markets in March include green peas, peppers and asparagus. Edwards said these will be in limited quantities, but it is good to see them coming back.
On the other hand, soft fruits from Chile will be going off the market. Edwards said he does not think these fruits will be missed.
“A lot of people won’t be too disappointed that they won’t be around,” he said. “Other than grapes, this has not been a good year for that particular commodity.”
In the meat department, Edwards said consumers will continue to see the same beef, pork, and poultry items on sale as they have been the past few months. Whole birds will be about 59 to 69 cents a pound, and boneless breasts will be around $2 a pound.
“On beef, lower end cuts will be featured, so chuck steaks and chuck roasts will be in that $1.39-a-pound range,” Edwards said.
As for the Florida freeze in late January, Edwards said the only citrus damage occurred to fruit on the vine at that time. He said whatever fruit was maturing after that will not be harvested until April, so March citrus should not be impacted by the freeze.