(The current mode of transportation for us is a snowmachine towing a sled. Cool, huh?)
Last summer, we shipped up 30 rubbermaid tubs full of provisions for the year. We calculated out how much rice, beans, pasta, flour, canned products, tea, coffee, etc. that we thought we would need. We spent a full day shopping, packing, and shipping our groceries. From Anchorage, it cost about $.75 per pound to ship the containers to Shishmaref. In addition to the mailed tubs, we stuffed three coolers full of frozen goods (meat, juice, veggies) and hand carried those out here. We actually saved all of our lists and have them analyzed and ready to use again this coming summer.
We estimated as best we could what we thought we would need for a school year. I’m impressed how well we have done. We have supplemented our initial shopping with items from the two stores in Shishmaref. The stores have quite a bit of ready-to-eat processed food. We were surprised at how much was available at the stores. We are careful. Sometimes the products are outdated. Our grocery shopping at the stores is usually eggs and fresh fruit or veggies. The eggs run about $8 per 18. Because eggs are too hard to ship ourselves, we rely on the stores up here.
People up here take opportunities to go to Anchorage to do fill-in shopping. Otherwise, we can “bush order” groceries through the mail from Fred Meyer or a couple of other companies. Most companies will charge a packing fee, the cost of the groceries, and the cost of the shipping. Besides flying in and out of here, groceries are our biggest expense.
We had an opportunity to go to our district office last weekend. The picture above is the last of the grocery shopping for the year from the village store at Unalakleet. We bought frozen vegetables, apples, butter, onions, gum, and other items. After spending $212, hopping a 10-seater bush plane, and being toted behind a snow machine on a sled, our groceries are home and we are stocked up for the last part of the school year.