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The high price of limes


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#1 JAZ

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 07:33 PM

Maybe it's just here in the Atlanta area, but in the last few weeks the price of limes has skyrocketed. Granted, the price of both lemons and limes fluctuates throughout the year, but I can't remember the last time limes were so expensive. My supermarket now has limes at 3/$2.00. The big bag that used to sell for under $3 is $5.49 now.

Is it like this all over? Is there a reason for the price hike that I haven't heard about?

#2 heidih

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:01 PM

I am in Southern California so we get our crop plus the Mexico one. I am continually astounded by the enormous price variations. I can usually forage or beg some from local trees, but the prices in the market make no sense. On the good side I can often get a bag of 8 or 10 juicy ones for 99 cents from the 99 Cents Store while a block away at the market they are between 50 cents and a dollar each. That said, I have not noticed any more recent price craziness than usual.

#3 Steamtrain

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:41 PM

Limes also jumped up in price in NYC(UES). was 3 for $1 for good limes and now it is 2 for $3 for not so good limes.

no change in lemons 3 for $1(street carts0

#4 Pierogi

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:09 PM

I'm in SoCal. I usually get my limes from Trader Joe's. They *had* been about $1.99 for a one-pound bag (usually 5-7 limes...). Which is a steal compared to the mega-marts, where they're like 50 cents a piece, and have been forever. Lowest I'd seen them at the supers was 3 for a buck. About 2 or so months ago, TJ's price went up to almost $3.00 per pound bag. They've now come back down to I think $2.49, which is still better than the supers, but WTF.....?

I vaguely remember hearing something about California's cold, wet winter affecting produce prices, and Florida had some deep freezes as well, so maybe that's it. I can't speak for produce, but know my roses look like crap this year because the weather's been so cold and dreary, and the jacarandas are *VERY* late, so maybe it was the weather that did it.
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#5 KatieLoeb

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:20 PM

I always hit up either the Mexican market where they're always cheaper than anywhere else (usually about 6/$1) or see if there's any bags of limes in the Dollar Bags at the produce market in Reading Terminal Market if I happen to be there first.

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#6 Doodad

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 04:09 AM

I think it was those deep cold snaps in FL that did it.

#7 scubadoo97

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:26 AM

I always hit up either the Mexican market where they're always cheaper than anywhere else (usually about 6/$1) or see if there's any bags of limes in the Dollar Bags at the produce market in Reading Terminal Market if I happen to be there first.


I agree Katie.
Limes and Lemons are both quite expensive in my grocery stores. I also hit the ethnic markets. Limes at 4-6/$1.00 are common. I sometimes find lemons at produce stands

#8 Corinna

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:56 AM

I've noticed the same thing here in central New York, but for a time (around Easter) I couldn't find them at all-- not even at Wegman's! I blame it on the rough winter in the US, and perhaps on the earthquake in Chile as well.
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#9 JimS

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:49 AM

Fifty cents a pop out here...tiny and blotchy.

#10 Dave the Cook

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:01 PM

Almost all Persian (Bearss) limes are imported, mostly from Mexico. This has been true since 1992, when Hurricane Andrew demolished Florida's lime groves. Ironically, Persian limes were established in Florida in the wake of the heavy hurricane season of 1926, which wiped out most of the Mexican (Key) lime trees. The USDA doesn't even track US lime production any more.

Most likely we're just between harvests in Mexico; reports say that a good crop is on the way (maybe as early as this week). Quality (though not size at first) should improve and prices moderate.

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#11 rlibkind

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:30 PM

The prices we've been seeing, at least in Philadelphia, are in line with past years. In mid-spring they frequently go up to 2/$1 at the Reading Terminal Market, which is where they are now. In a matter of weeks it will probably go to 3/$1, then 5/$1 and, occasionally when we're really lucky, 10/$1.

Here's are excerpts from an April 20 article in a trade pub, The Produce News. Keep in mind that it can takes weeks for what's happening on the producer level to shake down to retail:

Spring has brought good weather and a promise of increased supplies of onions, mangos and limes, but for each of those crops, to one degree or another, supply is still outstripped by demand, and strong markets prevail.

Richard Ruiz, president and chief executive officer of Ruiz Sales in Edinburg, TX, said that warm spring weather in Mexico was bringing on the Persian lime crop, and he expected supplies to jump as April turns into May. "We've moved a lot of limes, which had high prices this winter. But in May and June, supplies will increase and the market will come down."

Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales for Vision Import Group LLC in River Edge, NJ, agreed with that timing prediction. He said that the early-season Mexican crop was running well behind volume numbers from last year, but by the end of April and the beginning of May, regular seasonal fluctuation will start to change that.


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#12 Darienne

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:01 PM

Yesterday in our little local grocery store in a tiny Ontario town called Omemee, $.59 for a pretty small lime.
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#13 ScoopKW

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 06:32 PM

Las Vegas Latin markets are offering the standard 6 for $1 for Mexican Key Limes.
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#14 HungryC

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 06:55 AM

Yesterday's price at SuperWalMart: 64 cents each. 15 miles away, at the asian supermarket: about 30 cents each. I always see cheaper lime prices at ethnic groceries over mainstream supermarkets.

#15 cmflick

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 08:41 AM

A bag of about 2 dozen limes for $2.79 last week at the Stop & Shop in Connecticut.

#16 BKYLN

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 07:28 PM

3/$2 at my local Key Foods...

#17 weinoo

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 04:36 AM

3/$1 lower east side.
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#18 nakji

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 06:35 AM

$4 a kilo here - they're imported, but from who knows where.

#19 iguana

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 05:51 PM

10 for $1 at both my local markets this week (Latino area of Chicago). Come on by, we'll make daiquiris!

Jen

#20 deensiebat

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 06:38 AM

I've been wondering about this too! Limes doubled in price a few months ago at the local Kroger grocery store, from 3/$1 to $.60/each. And when I hit the restaurant supply store (we go through a lot of citrus), the 5-lb bag was over $9, which is about double what I remember. Doesn't look like we've found the definitive cause (Weather issues? National conspiracy?), but it does seem to be a nation-wide trend.

#21 Pierogi

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 10:16 PM

And.....voila !

Just like that, from last week to this, the 1 pound bag of limes at Trader Joe's dropped from over $3 each to it's more normal (normal at least in my memory, such as it is...) price of $1.49 each.

The one pound bag I got today had 7 decent sized limes, and the 2 I used this afternoon/evening were plenty juicy.

Literally....last week was over 3 bucks a pound for hard, shriveled little rocks, that yielded a pathetic amount of juice, even after priming in the microwave. Today, half price that price for a pound of lovely specimens.

Go figure. :hmmm:
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#22 abooja

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 10:22 PM

Limes were still 3/$2 at Giant here in the Philly suburbs as of a few days ago. Not terribly juicy, either.

#23 Shalmanese

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 12:38 AM

10 for $1 at my local mexican grocer in the Mission, SF.
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#24 weinoo

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 05:52 AM

They're back down to 8/$1 here on the lower east side of Manhattan. Big & juicy, too.
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#25 kalypso

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 12:31 PM

Get ready, lime prices are about to go up again. USDA has barred the import of Mexican limes into any state that has commerical citrus crops. The Mexican limes apparently are infected with a disease that is easily transmitted tree to tree and could inflict some serious damage to citrus growers. There is also some debate as to whether or not the disease has actually been controlled and the USDA was meeting yesterday (Dec. 17th) to review the status and decide whether or not to leave the embargo in place or lift it.

This information came from my produce company in a special release they sent to customers

#26 andiesenji

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 06:35 PM

If you are in the greater Los Angeles area, look for a Vallarta Supermarket for any produce.

It is the only place I buy citrus because the quality is excellent and the prices are better than any other place in my city.

They have the Mexican (Key) limes most of the time and they also have "sweet" limes which are actually Meyer lemons or as near as makes little difference.

They have multiple varieties of bananas and the best prices on mangos and papayas as you can find anywhere.

I buy loads of these fruits when I am going to be drying fruits or candying peel.

Link for locations
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#27 jsmeeker

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 06:10 PM

Last time I bought some, they were 5 for $1 at the local "fancy pants" supermarket (Central Market). They actually have better prices on limes than the standard mega marts. Been a while since I have been one of the nearby ethnic markets lately. Dunno what they are charging these days.

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#28 artisan02

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 10:16 PM

If you are in the greater Los Angeles area, look for a Vallarta Supermarket for any produce.

It is the only place I buy citrus because the quality is excellent and the prices are better than any other place in my city.

They have the Mexican (Key) limes most of the time and they also have "sweet" limes which are actually Meyer lemons or as near as makes little difference.

They have multiple varieties of bananas and the best prices on mangos and papayas as you can find anywhere.

I buy loads of these fruits when I am going to be drying fruits or candying peel.

Link for locations
One of my friends lives in Escondido and was thrilled when the store opened near to her home. She grows her own citrus but has become addicted to the tortillas.


I agree about Vallarta supermarkets, as well as other Mexican megamarts, like Ranch Markets. I have been able to get limes at $1/pound, or even 2 lbs/$1 sometimes. Haven't been lately so no idea what prices are now. But they never seem to get very high.

#29 andiesenji

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 10:29 PM

Vons has lemons for 69¢ EACH! Ridiculous. I also got some enormous navel oranges at Vallarta. Perfect for candying the peel - they have the thicker skin that is necessary for this use.
After removing the peel with my "trick" process, I am going to freeze the oranges whole then thaw them and put them through the juicer. I have been told that this will yield more juice and I am going to try my hand at making orange wine. A recipe from the Jane Austen era.
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