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Butter shortage predicted ahead of the holidays, stock up at Aldi, it's cheaper than the mainstream grocery store

By Mike Thayer

20220623_124022(2)The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is predicting a butter shortage, reporting there is 22% less butter in storage than there was at this time last year.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also chimed in, stating butter costs 24% more than it did in October 2021.

Just ahead of the holidays, this is when Americans do more cooking and A LOT of baking. The timing couldn't be worse.  A butter shortage?  Seriously?  Labor shortages and supply chain issues are to blame for the decreased supply, and increased costs for dairy farmers were cited for the price hike.  Thanks Joe!

Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter
Another example of how Aldi is cheaper than the mainstream grocery store.  And I walked in with butter being the only item on my list and walked out with just the butter!  I denied myself impulse buys.  Unprecedented...

I found myself with a bit of a butter shortage this morning, down to my last two sticks and some batch cooking on the agenda today.  I was also out of coffee creamer and stamps, so off to the mainstream grocery store I went for some one-stop shopping.  You can't buy stamps at Aldi and I like the Kroger brand of coffee creamer better than what Aldi now offers (they no longer sell Friendly Farms creamer) and the price difference is negligible.  I got my stamps, grabbed a jug of coffee creamer, walked over to the fridge with the butter and saw the prices...  The cheapest one pound box (4 sticks) was the Kroger brand at $4.99. Land O'Lakes was priced at $5.49 and Tillamook (love their cheese) was priced at $5.79.  The cheapest butter on the shelf was Kerrygold Grass Fed Pure Irish Butter at $3.50, but that was for just 8 ounces.

Hello Aldi!

Regular readers know that I for the most part don't get hung up over name brands.  While I do hold a few preferences where I go with the name brand, when it comes to food, not so much.   At Aldi, I purchased a one pound box (4 sticks) of Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter for $3.98 plus tax.  That's $1 cheaper than the Kroger brand and entirely worth the six minute drive to Aldi and the extra stop.  Butter is butter, I don't need the name brand stuff to cook or bake with, I've never paused and thought, "Oh my, this butter is SO much better tasting than brand 'X'!"...  Butter is butter.

So plan ahead for your holiday baking and cooking, beat the shortage and stock up on butter at Aldi.  The price of butter is just another example of how Aldi is cheaper product for product than the mainstream grocery store.  A good plan B is to buy bulk at Costco or Sam's Club, you'll save there over the mainstream grocery store as well.

Other Predicted Shortages:  If you're hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, it's never too early to start planning that menu.  Even if you're not hosting, but you're asked or want to contribute to the feast, it's a good time to plan ahead.  Prices are up and shortages on Thanksgiving staples are predicted, so getting what you need now in beating the last minute Thanksgiving rush crowd would be a very good thing.  Shortages have been predicted for butter, cream cheese (just about any dairy product in fact), chocolate, corn, tomatoes, beer, turkeys, olive oil, frozen pies and even frozen pizza (a traditional no fuss dinner the day before Thanksgiving for many). 

$pend Wisely My Friends...


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Grilling Good Eats ebookHow much charcoal should I use? How long does charcoal stay hot? What kind of grill should I buy? Which is better, gas or charcoal? Do I put the lid on or leave it off? How do I know if the steak is done?

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Apply for Green Iowa AmeriCorps positions in Iowa City

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Help lead the charge against climate change by being a member of the Green Iowa AmeriCorps here in Iowa City!

Green Iowa AmeriCorps is a state-wide organization with a mission of empowering Iowa's communities to make more environmental, conservation-minded decisions and improvements through direct service work, environmental education, professional development opportunities, and volunteer engagement.

The program is looking to recruit passionate and motivated individuals for an eleven-month service experience in Iowa City that starts in September 2022. Working with and supervised by the City's Climate Action Office, Green Iowa employees have the opportunity to create plans in conjunction with city officials, and nonprofit leaders, and execute projects that will greatly impact the communities they serve. 

AmeriCorps members receive a living stipend, public service loan forgiveness qualification, student loan interest accrual repayment, and much more!.

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Traffic Control for Freedom Festival Parade

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival will be holding the Freedom Festival Parade on Saturday, June 25, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to noon.

The following streets will be closed for the event from 7:00 a.m. (set up time) until 1:00 p.m. (tear down completion):

  • 2nd Avenue SE from 2nd Street to 7th Street
  • 3rd Avenue SE from 2nd Street to 7th Street
  • 4th Avenue SE from the railroad tracks to 8th Street
  • 3rd Street SE from 1st Avenue to 4th Avenue
  • 5th Street SE from 1st Avenue to 5th Avenue
  • 6th Street SE from 1st Avenue to 5th Avenue
  • 7th Street SE from 3rd Avenue to 5th Avenue

Additionally, a “No Parking/Tow Away” zone will be enforced on these streets from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. per Municipal Code Sections 61.094 and 61.094A. Guests of the Market are encouraged to use the 4th Avenue, GTC, 5 Seasons or Convention Complex parking ramps located within a few blocks of the Market. For additional parking information, please visit Parking ramps are handicapped-accessible and market patrons with special needs are encouraged to use those areas. For additional parking information, please visit

JCMG to host anniversary Taste of the Heritage Garden on July 13

Johnson County Master Gardeners will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Taste of the Heritage Garden on Wednesday, July 13, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.  

Following a two-year hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic, the annual celebration is back – in-person. The Taste is a tribute to Iowa’s history and food. The event is held at historic Plum Grove, 1030 Carroll Street in Iowa City, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Cost is $5 donation.

Donations fund the gardens and Kirkwood Community College horticulture scholarships and 4-H Awards.

Built in 1844, Plum Grove was the home of Robert and Friendly Lucas. Robert served as the first governor of the Territory of Iowa from 1838 until 1841. Iowa was admitted to the Union as a state Dec.  3, 1846.

This year, Master Gardeners will honor Betty Kelly, who died March 30. Betty organized efforts for the gardens at Plum Grove and “The Taste.” The Taste cookbook will serve as a program and will feature recipes for the food served as well as a tribute to Betty Kelly. Her family is commemorating Betty with a tribute bench recognizing her service.

For years, Betty negotiated with the State Historical Society of Iowa, owner of Plum Grove, for permission to plant a heritage garden as the state planned its sesquicentennial celebration in 1995. Betty, along with Joanne Leach, diligently researched the Lucas family, including Friendly’s diaries and letters, and newspapers to identify what people ate during that era and made every effort to be accurate in the garden and each undertaking. “The garden was another opportunity to inform the public about the state’s history, agriculture and its citizens.”

Today, Plum Grove boasts four gardens: vegetable (1995), Grandma’s Heirloom Flower Garden (1998), a wildflower garden (2000), and the Quester’s Rose Garden (2010). The historic vegetable and flower gardens are part of the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens. Plum Grove gardens have received local, state and national recognition including the first Iowa State Service Award, National Smithsonian Garden Award and an Irving Weber Award. Plum Grove has been a featured garden on the Project GREEN Garden Tour.

The gardens provide a glimpse into history. They are laid out in typical 1850s fashion with four sections and rows of vegetables planted in a north-south direction. The gardens are raised beds gardens – following the archeologist’s request that the ground would be minimally disturbed.  The flower garden is located on the old barn site.

Johnson County Master Gardeners prepare and serve. Menus always include a variety of items featuring vegetables that Friendly Lucas might have grown and served in the mid-1800s. This year’s menu includes some favorites from past years including plum dishes – purple plum soup and plum oat bars and a plum topping for the ice cream. Also on the menu will be King Arms Cabbage slaw, Iowa applesauce cake, Dane’s Dairy ice cream and rhubarb punch.

The Old Post Office Brass Band will perform as they have for many years.

In 2022, Johnson County Master Gardeners is celebrating 40 years of service in Johnson County. The local program was organized in 1982. The educational volunteer program, sponsored by Iowa State University Johnson County Extension and Outreach, provides current, research-based, home horticulture information and education to the citizens of Iowa through programs and projects. Master Gardeners receive horticulture training, and volunteer to promote a mission of education and service. The program is open to anyone 18 or older with an interest in gardening and a willingness to use their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to make a positive impact on their local community.

Video Update: Mi Casa, Your Casa, Fireworks Ordinance, and more

Iowa City Update is a weekly video featuring City of Iowa City projects, programs, and events. Topics this week include an interactive public art exhibit in the heart of downtown, a reminder that fireworks are illegal to use in Iowa City, and much more. Select the image below to watch Iowa City Update.

Girl swinging on the Mi Casa, Your Casa public art piece

Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 

Learn about a new interactive art display in Downtown Iowa City that is not only fun to swing on, but is also raising money to provide affordable housing in our community.

Fireworks Ordinance

With the 4th of July approaching, the City wants to remind folks that it’s illegal to use fireworks in Iowa City. Violators will face a minimum fine of $250.

Rec n' Roll

Parks and Recreation staff will be bringing its trailer of fun to Cardigan Park for the weekly Rec n' Roll series. Learn how you can enjoy fun games, live music, and get to know your neighbors. 

Iowa City Update - Your source for Iowa City news and information.

Independence Day closings announced for City