Submitted by murph on 5 August 2007 - 4:58pm. eat local | economics | food
It's blueberry season, apparently until the end of August. We like Dexter Blueberry Farm - not organic, but local and close. (Plus, it's where my mom took us several times a summer when I was little, so it's tradition.) I picked about 9 pounds.
Blueberries are $1.35 / lb at the farm. I weighed some out; they're about 3 cups / lb, making a dry pint about $0.90. Blueberries at the store are about $4/pint. Wow.
Now, were you to think like an economist, and figure out how much time I spend picking said blueberries, and driving to the farm and back, and declare that my picking time costs me the same hourly rate as my working time, then this pint costs about $5.75, before per mile costs are calculated. Which is why I avoid thinking like an economist - and also why we take friends along. With Kelli & Michael in tow, the mileage costs are cut in half from what we pay alone, and the time expenditure has entertainment value, meaning the cost of my time is priced at the opportunity cost of the fun I could be having elsewhere, and, ehhhh, let's just say it all equals out, my time cost is zero, meaning the cost of the blueberries is equal to the price of the blueberries plus mileage costs / pickers. I don't care for economist pedantry anyways, so this method is fine by me.
So, $0.90/pint for blueberries, and $0.40/pint mileage (4 pickers in a car, $0.42/mile, in this case - picking longer would reduce the mileage cost) puts me at $1.30/pint, or 1/3 the cost of retail. Which has me wondering if I should be selling blueberries at the farmers market. Hmmm...