Lime Prices Continue to Soar - NBC Southern California

Lime Prices Continue to Soar

A shortage is driving up price of limes



    How expensive are limes? Mexican limes are more expensive than a gallon of gas. You can blame the weather or disease, or you can even blame a cartel of farmers. NBC 7's Consumer Bob reports on the lime price climb that isn't showing any signs up letting up. (Published Friday, April 25, 2014)

    The price of limes has skyrocketed over the last few months as drought, disease and a cartel of Mexican growers have contributed to the highest prices ever. 

    At Stump's Family Market in Point Loma, limes are selling for $3.99 a pound.

    "You can buy boneless, skinless chicken breast for half that price," said Dirk Stump, the grocery store's owner.  He says even his avocados are cheaper than the price of limes. 

    Stump said his store's deli has cut back too.

    "We make fresh ceviche and we've stopped because it would be astronomically expensive," said Stump.

    At Island Prime restaurant on Harbor Island, executive chef Deborah Scott says they are still using limes for food and drinks but they are cutting back as well.

    "If someone asks for a lime for their water, they're not getting a whole lime as we were before," said Scott.  But she says the restaurant is not changing their menu. "We just deal with it," said Scott.

    Most of the limes sold in America come from Mexico. 

    Although, about 20 years ago, San Diego used to grow its own limes, according to Eric Larson with the San Diego County Farm Bureau. That all ended when farmers were priced out by growers south of the border, Larson said.

    So, as the price of limes continues to climb, those celebrating Cinco de Mayo may have some sticker shock.