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For the love of local: Shopping made in Michigan may help offset impact of inflation

Alcohol made in Michigan is up 10% compared to 12% nationally. For those drinking imports, it can be as high as 20% or even 30%
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Posted at 2:50 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 18:56:50-05

LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) — Everyone is feeling the effects of inflation right now, especially as they prepare for Thanksgiving. The latest CPI report shows the cost of food is up over 11% from one year ago.

There is a way that you can shift your thinking and maybe take the edge off inflation, and it involves shopping local.

Christine Roperti is the owner of Roperti’s Turkey Farm in Livonia. Her dad bought the farm in 1942 and it has been farmed by the family ever since.

“I’m right on 5 Mile. They drive by and can’t believe that there’s a big turkey farm smack in the middle of Livonia,” explained Roperti.

She says inflation is everywhere, even on the farm.

“Everything is a little bit more, everything. My water, my electricity, of course, my bags, my boxes.”

She admits, her turkey prices have gone up but she also says her turkeys are worth it.

“Because they taste so much better. My turkey, it’s night and day,” said Roperti. "They taste like Michigan, yes, they do!

Tim Nash is the senior vice president emeritus and director of the McNair Center at Northwood University. He explained where things stand when it comes to inflation this Thanksgiving.

“The national price for turkey is up 70% from last year. So the ability to produce that Thanksgiving meal is going to be challenging this year,” Nash said.

Christine Roperti might not want to hear it, but Nash suggests considering less “traditional” Thanksgiving fare, like chicken or fish, to cushion the price pain. He does, however, see the advantages of staying local.

“Substituting for products that are produced in Michigan might be a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving in Michigan if you’re entertaining family,” said Nash.

That’s because two of the biggest inflation costs right now are transportation due to gas prices and materials for packaging.

“You may actually go to the farm. So there isn’t any of those additional costs. You might not have the packaging component. You might not have the transportation component to the price,” Nash said.

Nash also explained, buying Thanksgiving booze from Michigan is another idea people could consider. That’s because nationally, alcohol inflation is around 12%, and internationally it’s 20% to 30%.

“There’s are lot of great Michigan wines. And a lot of great Michigan beers. Those are up only about 10% this year,” explained Nash.

What about dessert? That’s where Andrew Chmielewski, owner of Dave’s Sweet Tooth Toffee comes in.

“Dave was my dad. He was a retired Detroit firefighter,” explained Chmielewski.

He said the business began as a hobby.

“We started making it in our home kitchen and selling it at craft shows. That was about a little over 10 years ago. And from there it’s just kind of grown into what it is today,” said Chmielewski.

Now, their toffee can be found in stores throughout the US. He explained what sets this Detroit-made confectionary creation apart from the rest.

“We make the world’s best almond toffee. The key to our recipe is actually the quality of ingredients,” said Chmielewski.

He admitted inflation has had a big impact on his business.

“A huge source of inflation is energy. So transporting our raw materials from one place to another,” explained Chmielewski.

He said there is a way people can counter that cost in their own lives.

“I’ve always been a huge proponent of shopping local and supporting local businesses. You know, not only does it help to keep that money in the community, but products have to travel less of a distance,” Chmielewski said.

So maybe consider locally made Dave’s Sweet Tooth Toffee for your holiday.

“Whether you buy it and display it as Dave’s Sweet Tooth or you put it out on a plate and pretend like you made it yourself, I think it’s kind of the perfect treat for Thanksgiving.”