Market vendor Collin Morgan has plied his trade at the Scarborough market for upwards of 25 years. In the true spirit of giving, Morgan gave some advice for shoppers this Christmas season.
Morgan told Newsday the public should take advantage of the pre-season Christmas prices as they are more pocket-friendly. Additionally, some items have a long shelf life and can be stored to avoid spoiling. He said price increases are assured on items such as "sorrel, ginger, celery and chives. Tomatoes and sweet peppers will also carry a heavy price this Christmas."
He said the public has already seen changes in the price of certain goods ahead of Christmas.
"Last month tomatoes were $10 to $12 a pound but you may be surprised to know it has already gone up to $15 a pound. What triggers the price changes is the set of rain that falls from September to November. A lot of the farmers crops does get 'lick up' (sic). The farmers who plant along hills, their crops does survive and come in. The pre-Christmas rain does cause floods and we always end up with a shortage at Christmas."
The current price of Christmas staples such as sorrel is $8 to $10 per lb while ginger is $15 to $20 per lb. He warned that by Christmas Eve, prices can double.
"The truth is Tobagonians like last minute shopping. Things like ginger can be cleaned and stay good in your fridge, but people enjoy the last minute rush so they end up paying the high price."
He said a lot of the ginger that is sold in Tobago is not locally farmed.
"Those goods come from the Grenadian and Vincentian boats. We usually get sweet potato, ginger, dasheen, eddoes, yam and tania."
Morgan added, "Buy your fresh seasoning, grind it and bottle it and store it in your fridge. Buy ginger, clean and dry it; put it in ziplock bags, it go (sic) stay fresh! Buy your sorrel early, peel or clean it, bag it and freeze it; or boil the petals and make your extract, bottle and leave it in your fridge."
He advised the public to buy provision about two weeks ahead of Christmas to avoid the highest prices. Incremental Christmas price increases are expected from today.