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Mar 27, 2014 03:40 PM

Lime shortage, who knew?

The other day at my favorite grocery, I went to stock up on lemons and limes as usual. The lemons were plentiful, 5 for $1. But the lime bin was empty. I figured they just didn't get to it and moved on.

Now lo and behold I find there is a major issue with limes; happens to everything eventually but this is the first inkling I had about this particular problem:

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  1. Last week the lime bins were empty here too. I was so confused. Had to settle for a squeeze of the bottled stuff on my tacos, not the same

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunangelmb

      Me too, I'm either subbing bottled lime juice or using lemon, which is still very cheap. Oh well, these things happen.

    2. I don't think I EVER recall lemons being 5 for $1--that would be a treat while we go through a "lime drought." Hmm. Kinda cruel as we move into mojito/G&T/margarita weather!

      2 Replies
      1. re: kattyeyes

        Yep, this is seriously affecting my vodka & tonic and margarita drinking!

        1. re: kattyeyes

          Just two years ago limes were 12 for $1 and lemons 10 for $1 in the NYC suburbs.

        2. I saw a similar news article this morning.
          Went to the grocery tonight and sure enough, limes running ~10 cents more per piece than lemons.

          Looks like I'll be sticking to lemon for a bit. Wish the growers well in their recovery. Mother nature can be a b!tch.

          1. Lemons still cost plenty here in N Cal ( and I have three trees!), but for the first time I got a lemon, rather than a lime, with my pho.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Shrinkrap

              sr, any reason you don't have a lime tree too? just curious. (i'm in boston and i envy you anyway!)

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Well, I moved to California from The Bronx, and did what everyone else here (sort of a Sacto Valley climate, but not far from SF Bay) was doing. That was lemons and oranges, and not limes. I have family in the Carribean and in Florida, and I'm thinking limes want a more humid climate, with fewer extremes. It does not usually get above 55 at night until May first, and can be 100 that same day. And as my Jamaican in laws would say; "dry as chip!" (?????). I am not trying to fight with what I have!

                1. re: Shrinkrap

                  You are correct that relatively few people in Northern California grow limes, but I'm not sure why -- mine seems to be doing as well as any citrus fruit (except for Meyer lemons, which are insanely easy to grow and prolific).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    What is your Sunset zone? What are you highs and lows? It is 46 degrees here right now. 10 PM. I thought it did not often go as low as 46 in most of "the Bay area".

                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                      Certainly 46 degrees is not uncommon. I think whether something will grow in a particular zone has more to do with the number of days of sustained cold temperatures as well as the absolute minimum temperature. After all, it does freeze here -- just not very often and not for very long. My Sunset zone is 17 -- it's notable that my lemon and lime trees are on the south facing side of my house where they get full sun and can be quite warm -- I actually scorched the bottoms of my feet on my dark-colored steps when I went out to pick some limes barefoot a couple of weeks ago.

                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                        We get down to freezing here in the Winter even .5 miles from the Bay.

                        1. re: chefj

                          I didn't realize that! Of course I "freeze" down there in August!

                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                            Earlier this year we had a string of below freezing mornings. Your in N.Cali too yes?

                            1. re: chefj

                              Yes; Sunset 14, in the outskirts of Solano county. We get freezes every winter, and many days, weeks, maybe months above 100 degrees. It always seems like a world of difference when I visit San Francisco (which I do often!). You can tell when we step off the ferry in our flip flops and tank shirts, and folks in "The City" are wearing scarves and jackets.

                              I have three Meyers that I rarely protect (just made a batch of curd!), a blood orange, and many neighbors have orange trees from when this neighborhood was an orchard. Oranges (and sometimes lemons) go unpicked until they drop on city streets.

                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                Funny my Lemon Tree (not a Meyer but i do not know what it is) did not like that cold snap at all. It lost a lot of Leaves, just starting to get some new growth.

                                1. re: chefj

                                  Mine seem to have more trouble with the heat, but I did cover the three smallest trees for a bit this winter. LOTS of flowers on those right now. They start to drop their tiny fruit when it get's above 95 or so for days in a row in June; sometimes ALL of them. (Tiny fruit, not days in June, but sometimes the latter seems true as well.)

                                  Lime growing by climate

                                  Heat zone map


                                  1. re: chefj

                                    Yeah, my lemon tree dropped a lot of leaves, too. Lot's of new growth now, though, and it's starting to blossom again.

                      2. re: Shrinkrap

                        If you are interested in growing limes, you have several options:

                        I am in Sunset zone 14 and have a bearss lime, thai lime, and a limequat, as well as a meyer improved, and a blood orange tree.

                        They are all several years old, and have grown well in large pots. They did have to be protected during the really hard freeze period we had a few months ago, but are fine from the 30s in the winter to 100 plus in the summer, as long as they are watered appropriately. This season they all have produced nice crops.

                        1. re: souvenir

                          I can also vouch for Four Winds I had a great Kaffir Lime Tree from them.

                  2. $90 a Case wholesale last Week!
                    Drug Cartels seem to playing a part in this

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chefj

                      My produce rep quoted me $115 a case yesterday.