Until recently, shopping for butter has always been an afterthought. We’d go to the grocery store and pop a package into our cart and not give it a second thought. But today, with the price of butter over $4.00 for a box of four quarters, many of us are rethinking our butter usage.

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I went to three different grocery stores in the Vestal area over the weekend and although I knew the price of butter was increasing, I was shocked at how much it’s gone up in just a few short weeks and I was kicking myself for not buying more to stick in the freezer when it was much much cheaper only a few months ago.

The current national average price for "Butter, salted, grade AA, stick, per lb. (453.6 gm)" is $4.38 which is even higher than it was in 2015 when we all went crazy over the price which then averaged $3.75.

Why is butter so expensive? Simply put, it's a trickle-down effect of the high price of milk. Milk is so expensive because, like everything else, the price has gone up on the cost of buying cattle, the cost of feed for cattle, and the cost to pay employees. Because of this, the supply of milk is thin and because milk is used in so many products from butter to cheese, everyone is trying to get their hands on a product that's already in limited supply which is driving up the cost for consumers.

If you think perhaps a person might not resort to smuggling to save a bit of money, you'd think wrong. As a matter of fact, everyday homemakers got caught up in smuggling margarine in Wisconsin in the 1950s, a strange but true story that even inspired a movie.

Mary, now a resident of Endwell, was born in Wisconsin and vividly remembers her mom and dad making an adventure of smuggling. Mary recalls that her job was to hide the forbidden deliciousness in the way back of the family station wagon.

By the way, if you can't live without butter but can't live with the price, margarine is currently averaging under $2.00 a pound in the Southern Tier. You might have to do some mind tricks to convince yourself you're using the real thing, but if you're desperately trying to save money and need something to spread on your bread...

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