A few musings on Monday morning, on the day before tax day.

Will Americans spend their tax refunds on more produce purchases? One can hope, I suppose, but a realist would not put too much stock in that probability. And of course those unfortunate Joes and Janes who have to fork over money to Uncle Sam will probably but cutting back on all purchases this month, including food. So not a great time for the fresh produce department.

 A survey from Capital One Bank said the average federal tax refund this year will be $3,116, up 4.2% compared to 2013. The survey said that most Americans (80%) expect to get a refund and more than half of those (52%) plan to spend the majority of their refund.

Paying off debt is the top use for taxpayers who will spend their refund, with 58% of those receiving a refund indicating that is what they plan to do with their check from the U.S. Treasury.

 For those of us writing a check to the government, the survey said that 34% will dip into their personal savings or emergency fund to cover the cost, while 35% said they have set aside savings to pay for their owed taxes. For the rest, 22% said they will do an installment agreement or payment plan with the IRS, 6% will draw down retirement funds ,and 4% will use a credit card.



The recent Gallup poll on fruits and vegetables continues to draw some media mentions, with one story at www.alaskadispatch.com noting  that Gallup found consumers in Anchorage pay more for fruits and vegetables than anywhere else in the U.S.

 One reader of the story lamented the state of produce in Alaska:

"Not only are the cost of fruit and veggies high here, the quality is at the bottom of the barrel. It is amazing that I can go to a third world country and get better quality produce than here, and they have to import theirs just as far as we do. It’s almost like we get nothing but lower 48 reject produce."


While other reader comments concurred with the general conclusion, the shared sentiment was that high produce prices for fruits and vegetables should be expected in the remote wilds of Alaska.  As one reader said:

"I‘m sorry to hear people complain about the cost of fruits and veggies but that’s the cost we pay to live in this great state. One could move to Mexico if they want cheaper fruits and veggies. Sure some things cost more here but some things are cheaper,i.e. salmon,moose,berries and many other foods not available in the lower 48.I shop in anchorage when I come in from the bush and the veggies and fruits don’t look all that bad."


The glass is half full, in other words. If the residents of Anchorage are despairing the high price of fruits and vegetables, resident of Olympia, Wash. can revel in their number one rating for affordable fruits and vegetables. Check out the full top ten and bottom ten Gallup rankings.




Why doesn’t the industry have more celebrity endorsers? Would entertainment stars help spur more produce sales? I ask the question of the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group; check out the discussion thread here and add your thoughts...


The LinkedIn Group has more than 10,000 members now, and the Packer Market also continues to grow, with near 1,530 members. Join that group at http://thepackermarket.com/