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Tips for Thanksgiving meal shopping in the midst of higher food prices

According to the American Farm Bureau, food prices are up nearly 4% compared to a 20-year average of about 2.4%.

ST. LOUIS — Buy local and shop soon: that's the message from suppliers for this Thanksgiving.

Even though it may be three weeks away, now is the time to start buying for the big meal.

Almost every single item for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is seeing a price bump.

The pandemic has made its impact with supply chain issues, shortages and disruptions. This is combined with high demand as people cook more meals at home.

According to the American Farm Bureau, food prices are up nearly 4% compared to a 20-year average of about 2.4%.

"Everything is just going up and it doesn’t seem to stop," Bryan Harr says. 

He's the owner of Harr Family Farms and explains the best time of year for them is Thanksgiving. 

Credit: KSDK

Selling its best sellers since 1925 from turkeys to chicken, ducks, beef, pork and lamb. Some clients come straight to the farm, others get the products at Soulard Farmers Market.

Yet, this year is unlike one they've ever seen. It's costing more to keep turkeys fed because the feed has corn.

"It's double the price of two years now," Harr says. With that, turkey prices are likely to hit record highs.

"I have seen other places increase as much as 50%. I’ve been trying to keep the prices as low as I can for my customers. I just take less profit that’s all," Harr describes.

Beef costs are up 3% and poultry rose 6%.

Eggs and milk are up too. In September, eggs cost nearly 13% more than last year.

Some of the price increases may not have anything to do with the product on the inside. 

For example, cranberry sauce is higher because the steel cans cost more. The price of steel is up 37%

These numbers impact the businesses farmers work with, too. 

Credit: KSDK

Pint Size Bakery in St. Louis is a farm-focused seasonal bakery making the freshest pies for the holidays.

Co-owner Christy Augustin says, "We sell over 200 full-size pies and hundreds and hundreds of our mini pies."

She explains she's seeing those new price tags roll in.

"That’s going to affect our dairy costs, our egg costs, and of course, any meat that we use. Paper costs, we are having trouble to get them just boxes or cups," Augustin adds.

Yet, she'll be eating the cost for her clients.

She still recommends, the earlier you shop, the more likely you’ll get what you want and suggests to keep your options open if some items run out.

Harr advises, "You need to get your turkey orders in now. From what I have been hearing from other farmers and from what I’m seeing, I only have 50 turkeys left and it’s the only first week of November."

Adding in one way to save money is to shop local.

"You have definite savings because you're not going to a big box store with so much overhead to cover their cost," Harr says. 

It can also save some money since the product doesn't need to be transported as far.