Hot off the grill cheeseburgers, hot dogs and pork spare ribs…coming right up! Summertime is a favorite time for outdoor cooking, picnicking and family gatherings. Memorial Day unofficially serves as the kick-off of the summer season and this week’s July 4th celebrations will find outdoor dining in full swing with additional weeks of summer in the offing.

Summer food events are a fun time to enjoy grilling and seasonal items. The Missouri Farm Bureau participates in the American Farm Bureau annual summer cookout Marketbasket Survey. This process collects prices for popular food items that will be included in the meal. It allows for year-to-year comparison as well as comparing Missouri prices to the national average.

Prices were gathered on 16 items that would be included in a cookout for 10 people. The menu includes cheeseburgers from ground round and hot dogs with buns and condiments; pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, corn chips, baked beans and watermelon. Beverages offered with this meal were lemonade and chocolate milk.

This feast may not be exactly what your family will consume but it allows for year-over-year comparisons. Most of us enjoy those family secret recipes for potato salad and baked beans like Aunt Opal makes or the neighbors bring. But for sake of comparison, we are going for purchased items allowing continuity of ingredients.

Missouri shoppers will on average pay $48.50 for this bill of items to feed 10 people with possible leftovers. How can it be possible to feed a group for under $5 per person? The national average was $55.70 or $5.57 per person.

Missouri prices were lower than the national average on all but two items, ground round and chocolate milk. Compared to last year’s state total of $50.50 or $5.05 per person, local shoppers will be able to feed their gatherings for less.

Farmers and ranchers are the source of the food supply we enjoy at reasonable prices. Agriculture is an important part of the economy in the United States with 11 percent of employment tied to agriculture and the food industry. As we salute our country over the July 4th holiday, be reminded of the importance of farmers that allow us food security and choices. And remember to Thank A Farmer!