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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.

                    2. Usually at my Costco a 5 pound bag is around 5 bucks give or take a bit. This week is was 8 something. I did a double take. The pricer bag isn't as juicy either. They have the organic lime juice in bottles, might have to pick some up just in case.

                      Good luck lime growers! My Dark N Stormy's need you!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: autumm

                        It's an old adage, the higher the price on produce, the worse the quality.

                      2. I think it may be affecting some of the afiiated citruses as well. I've noticed recently that besides the standard kind, there seems to be a shortage of Key Limes (most of which also come from Mexico). Actually that could explain something I saw last week at Balducci's where I managed to score 4 bags of keys which is all they had (with supplies so spotty, I'm buying when I find 'em, and sqeezin' and freezin') When I happend to walk by the space thereafter, there was an employee restocking, and I notice that he filled the space left from the limes with lemons, so he obviosly did not have any more bags.

                        The juicy thing is also probably an effect of this situation. There are two major kinds of limes on the market, the creole (light green, smooth shiny and abundantly juicy) and the Tahitian/Bearass (darker green, larger, bumpier, duller and usually pretty dry). Mexico may grow most of the limes in general, but it grows nearly ALL of the creoles (they need a bit more warmth than most of florida or california can provide.)

                        It probably won't help much, but, when they come into season, Limequats are a decent substitute for the juicy and key limes. And since I think they mostly come out of California, they should be unaffected (well by the drug thing, the weather thing might be a rising tide lifts (or in this case, sinks) all boats situation.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                          fwiw, I'm freezing whole limes when I see them, too. Easy to grate a little zest off the frozen fruit, and the defrosted (20-30 sec in the micro) fruit yields more juice than when fresh.

                          1. re: KarenDW

                            Yep - That's the way to go KarenDW!

                            1. re: KarenDW

                              karen, you really don't notice any flavor difference between fresh and frozen?

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                "it all depends" For a squeeze over Pho, or grated zest to flavor simple syrup, then no. I don't make key lime pie, or the like.
                                In a cocktail, the juice from a frozen lime is just fine; it's much better than the frozen limade concentrate alternative. Important to not "cook" the lime in the micro; just defrost. And let rest before juicing :)

                          2. Not that this makes me any kind of commercial citrus expert, but none of my three lime trees produced a damn thing last fall.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: EWSflash

                              nothing producing on my key lime this year either, no flowers :(

                              1. re: EWSflash

                                Mine are in bloom right now- I'm going to go out there and tell those bees to get busy.

                              2. Here in Chile, there's a lemon shortage due to a bad harvest (drought along with a Spring frost caused it), so lemons are being imported from the US. A kilo costs about $1.90 (depending on exchange rate)--that's about 4 or 5 lemons.
                                Limes can't really be found, sometimes there are green lemons, though.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Wawsanham

                                  Guess we'll appreciate limes all the more, when they finally reappear.

                                2. What are you using for your morning Tequila shots??

                                  2 Replies
                                    1. re: coll

                                      The weather seems to be affecting the ugli harvest too. They're available but are not up to normal quality, a lot of the insides are hard and empty. And the orange ones seem to be completely missing. They've never been the commonest ones (I still don't know if orange ugli fruit is the result of gentics or weather (I know it's not ripeness), but I do know that, if I find and ugli whose peel is orange, it's probably going to be a particularly sweet one.) but this year the are totally absent.

                                  1. Interesting and timely thread! Just last night I went to a taco joint in Salt Lake City. Their limes were cut up into the tiniest of tiny sections. I could barely handle them. I wondered if something was up.

                                    1. The shortage and high prices were a story on the Today Show this morning. Worrisome. On average a quadrupling of prices and lesser quality.

                                      13 Replies
                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        Also goes hand in hand in produce land!

                                        1. re: coll

                                          Managed to grab 9 or 10 decent looking creoles at Mrs. Green's (local organic supermarket chain) today. Think they were going for about $9 a pound.

                                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                                            At times like this, I will pay anything. If only I saw some!

                                            1. re: coll

                                              Likewise, I'll pay what it takes. I can't imagine life without limes.

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                In that case one word of warning. Those limes were of the Susie brand (most of the organic limes around here are, as are most of the bags of keys) There's nothing particuarly wrong about that, but one caveat, you may want to dilute the juice before using (or use less than you would normally) Susie's limes tend to be REALLY acidic, like battery acid acidic. I suppose under the circumstances, that could be a good thing. If you have to dilute the juice, it will go farther. But it is something to be aware of.

                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                  Rats. In the past when they were cheap and in season I used to juice a lot of them and freeze it in small portions. I'm all out.

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    Heck I've been squeezing all my keys for months, pouring the juice in old freezable lemon juice containers, and then, when I need it, measuring the stuff out with a kids medicine glass (10ml of juice per day).

                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                      jm, do you have a preferred juicer brand?my old Braun does the job but is not the best probably.

                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                        I usually just use those hand held kinds, the kind that look like a cross between a nutcracker and a garlic press. They do the job well enough for me. Only thing is that I need more than one size. Assuming the different size's color code corresponds to the fruit you are supposed to use them for, you usually need the next size up (maybe citrust fruits are larger there). The green (lime) is OK for key limes and (when I can get them) yuzus. But for creole limes, I usually need to use the yellow one (which I suppose was designed for lemons). and for lemons the orange one. After that, I usually have to dig out the old spin one, as a lot of oranges are too big for the orange one (and don't even get me started on when I need to squeeze an ugli, or, god help me, a pomelo.

                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                          wow, i am so surprised that you use a hand press. you must have wicked strong hands- if you're ever looking around for a second career, i bet massage might work well for you!

                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                            Perhaps, though it might be risky. Hard squeezes can me frustrated and angry. If the same thing happened while I was massaging, someone might get hurt. At least with the squeezer, the worst than can happen is I break the little tube that attaches the two bits (that's happened four or five times) The yuzu's are a bit tricky, but that's beacuse I tend to peel them and seperate the segments BEFORE I squeeze, so segments oftend pot out of the squeezer whole (with yuzu's being so expensive, and juicy yuzus increadingly rare now that most places are only offering that new strain (great easy to remove peel, but dry as a bone inside) I am trying to get maximum use of of the few goods ones I come across by popping thier pits in pots and tring to start a little grove of my own (to my spurise, it looks like I am just warm enough that yuzu's (which are quite cold hardy) can survive a winter OUTSIDE here, so once they are little trees, I can stick them in the ground.) Alas the best yuzu's have very few seeds, so every one is precios, to precios to risk cutting in half or crushing.
                                                            Actually I tend to cut my limes in half with a spiral motion (rather than slicing from side to side) for the same reason, in the one in a millon chance that a non-key lime actuall has a seed or two in it, I want that seed whole in a pot, not sliced in half in the garbage.

                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                              Just FYI, citrus doesn't grow "true" from seed. You can grow a plant, but the fruit it bears -- if any -- might not resemble to fruit the seed came from. Commercial citrus trees are grown from cuttings, usually grafted on to a hardy, disease-resistent root stock.

                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                I'm well aware of that, but one has to start somewhere. And while they do not neccecarily come true, that isn't always a bad thing. I already have a truly freaky tree I grew from a lemon pip that makes makes citral (the active aromatic in lemon peels) in it's young leaves (so even the leaves smell like lemons. I'm aware the fruit I may get is not neccecarily going to be like what I got it from, especially for yuzu's (whose genetics are so unstable that most of it's pits will not even make viable trees. But until I can work out waht variety the kind I want is and who carries a version (most yuzu trees are just sold as yuzu trees, no cultivar, since it is considered too exotic for that level of specialzation.) and is certified as something I can keep (i.e. that the USDA isn't going to decend and confiscate because the tree orchard developed a citrus disease that they are worried about spreading (it has happened a lot) a seed tree is the best I can do.

                                      2. $0.67 today in my market, and no shortage. I think that's still more than lemons here.

                                        1. seems to be back to almost normal today. The last week and half I notice a rise in lime prices. I paid $1.25 for one! three days ago. Back down to 60cents.

                                          We do get 5 for a dollar one or twice a year.

                                          We never gets bags of limes at Costco here. Nice lemons tho.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: daislander

                                            You can find them around 5/$1.00 here. Sometimes even 10/$1.00, but not the large, heavy, juicy ones. In any case, I bought SEVERAL at $0.67 each tonight!

                                            I am making that Trini-Chinese chicken recipe!


                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                              I know when I see them, I am going to overbuy. I'll think of something to do with them!

                                              Hey maybe it's all a plot to get the price of lemons and limes back in line with other produce ;-)

                                              1. re: coll

                                                We enjoyed especially nice double-shot T&Ts last night, inspired by this thread. CHEERS!

                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                  I'll be grocery shopping tomorrow, if limes are back here then I will be joining you!

                                          2. Limes, both Persian and Key, are abundant here in Guatemala where I’m living for a couple of months, although somewhat more expensive than I recall them being last year. I’m paying about $1.30 at the mercado for a dozen Key limes. Wish I could help you all out.

                                            1. Many years ago I planted a Bearss lime tree in my backyard (SF Bay Area). It produces hundreds of limes every year. Now (March) the big season is ending; I got six limes yesterday. When ripe they are yellow. They are juicy, seedless, and thin-skinned. This year, despite the drought, we got a huge crop. There are still at least a hundred limes on the tree and if previous years are any guide we will get at least one lime a day year-round. As an additional bonus the limes drop to the ground when they are ripe.
                                              Others in this area have had similar success with this variety.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Joel

                                                Hope you're not trying to make us jealous! Because if so, you've succeeded.

                                                1. re: Joel

                                                  My Bearss took several years to bear, but this year in the Bay Area I got a decent crop (still plenty on the tree) and it's been blooming its head off (smelling wonderful and attracting bees) last month. If it sets even ten percent, I'll have limes for the whole neighborhood this summer. Apparently although my Eureka lemon bears fairly consistently year round, Bearss limes have their major bloom in the spring and a smaller peak in the fall. I love living in California!

                                                  1. Maybe it's limes and lemons? I dunno - I haven't bought limes yet, it's not hot enough to add them to my beer, but I bought four (4) lemons today for nearly $3.00! That's a first in my neck of the woods - Disclaimer - I sent SO to get four lemons and didn't check the price beforehand. Maybe they would have been cheaper by the bag.

                                                    1. At Chicago's Hispanic markets limes have always been 10 for a dollar or even less. This week they are 50 cents apiece.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. I heard Gustavo Arellano on NPR this week saying that in the part of Mexico from where the US imports most of our limes, the drug cartels have taken over the lime industry.

                                                        I saw limes were 79 cents each today at the international hypermarket where I do my weekly vegetable shopping. Lemons were 5 for a dollar. I have two bags of US produced key limes on hand.

                                                        Arellano was saying that the price hike will have a big impact on MX restaurants, who will feel the pinch much more than individual consumers simply because they go through tons and tons of limes in their food preparation.

                                                        I tend to use limes (prefer key limes or Persian limes) in my daily cooking and I am less of a fan of lemons, so I will have to concede to paying the higher price.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: luckyfatima

                                                          Around Michoacán, the lime growing region, where cartels have a growing and menacing presence. Limes in Mexico are served with or part of almost every meal.

                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                            Since we all seem to be scrabling for substitutes one warning, do NOT try and use Markut/Kaffir limes. Markut lime juice may have it's uses in asian cooking, but those are noth the same as those for "normal" limes (Marku lime juice tastes a little like what you'd get if you took a whole lime; peel,pith,and all, ran it through a food processor, then strained out the liquid.

                                                          2. re: luckyfatima

                                                            Yes, a column from the San Francisco Chronicle on how local restaurants and bars are coping with the raised cost of limes: http://www.sfgate.com/food/insidescoo...

                                                          3. Try Calamansi Limes.

                                                            Also known as the Calamodin, the Calamansi is best described as a cross between lime and tangerine, and easily used as a lime or lemon substitute. About the size of the Tahiti lime, the Calamansi is excellent when used in both food and drinks, such as a Caipirinha.

                                                            Markets such as the Seafood City chain are abundant in Calamansi products: Calamansi syrups, fresh and frozen juice, fruit, frozen fruit, and even young trees for your patio or garden.

                                                            The tree can kept manageable in a large pot, will produce fruit in one year, and is a good grower and producer. We have two here, quite rare in our Canton, and I wheel the pots inside when our Winter starts. The trees stay snug by the window and a heating vent, pining for the warmth of Spring and a roll back outside.

                                                            May appear to be a lot of work with the utility dolly, but I can assure you that it is easier than working with cows.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                              We have a Mexican Thornless Lime tree, about 2ft tall, in a pot on the balcony. "Ricky" spent the winter inside, but will be transplanted to a larger/4gal pot this year, and will probably spend the winter outdoors. We also have a Meyer Lemon, potted. Lulu has been outdoors for two winters, and seems pretty happy. Several fruit have set from the last bloom. Our outdoor space is very protected, and faces southeast, so stays pretty bright and warm.

                                                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                One thing to consider though, the calamansi in those products is NOT the same thing as the caldomin that one can buy as trees. The former is Citrus mitis, the latter, Citrofortunella microcarpa (that's why the fruit on most of the calamansi product lables looks so different (with a green skin and orange flesh). Caldomins can work as a sour citrus but don't expect it to taste exactly the same (To my knowledge the green skinned orange one is not avaiable in fresh or tree form in this country)
                                                                Actually I think there are two kinds of caldomins avaiable, one with smallish solid orange fruit about the size of a large marble (the common one) and a somewhat bigger one with a skin that almost looks like it is pattered (this is I think the better for eating, but harder to find.)

                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                  I'm sure you're correct, but your spelling caldomin threw me off. I had not seen that binomial used before.
                                                                  The plant is referred to here as Calamansi or Kalaminsi, using the Tagalog name common to the Philippines. The actual English name, Calamondin, is not common use here.
                                                                  A check of the plant card that we kept when purchased, Citrofortunella microcarpa is the correct species.

                                                                  Calamansi Lime - Calamondin refrences-English:


                                                                  Checking online with Seafood City in the US, the Citrofortunella microcarpa is the same plant being sold at most stores, very reasonably at $ 29.USD. We ordered our at 3x that price, so those in California can obtain the plant today at a better value.

                                                                2. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                  ....and I buy them (so they'll grow in pots in my California home) where please? where'd you get yours? perhaps there's an online link for purchasing the little buggers.

                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                    I would look online at mail-order nurseries in California, or perhaps in your state.

                                                                    The first that we had when we were working in California, was from the Seafood City market chain, which features fresh seafood and Philippine food items.

                                                                    That went to our son who resides there.

                                                                    I bought ours at a nursery nearby.

                                                                    I could tell you but the poste from Switzerland might be very expensive.

                                                                3. This would explain why limes were 59 cents a piece when they're usually 4/$1

                                                                  1. The city I live in gives us free shade tree coupons on the back of our bill once a year and we just got ours! I use them for fruit trees and keep them potted since we haven't finished the plan for the backyard yet. We do have a Bearss lime I got last year that made half a dozen limes last year and is full of blossoms now but since I keep them in pots their yield won't be that of an in-ground tree. I wonder if I should get a second lime of another variety wtih this years coupon (we drink a lot of mojitos and use a lot of limes in cooking.) We already have pomegranate, blood orange and meyer lemon along with the Bearss.

                                                                    1. I've watched the price go up from $16-20 a case to $130 at present, over the past few months. The three bars I manage, and the kitchen at work, go through 2-4 cases a week, or more between them, and we have to have them. If I was running typical bars I would be raising cocktail prices $1-2 each, or taking lime based cocktails off the menu and adding more lemon based ones. But since it's a private country club, we pay the price and just keep on going.

                                                                      Retail, limes are going for $.75 each here, when I can usually get them 6-12 for $1.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                        Ouch. I hope the citrus canker disease and citrus greening disease that are devastating the Florida orange and grapefruit crops in Florida do not spread to other citrus in other growing regions.

                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                          I'm in southern Louisiana. Someone from the state came out to inspect our mandarin tree for canker disease. It's one tree in my yard, not a farm. This surprised me a bit. If my tree was infected they were going to take it. Luckily it was not.

                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                            California is being very proactive in fighting citrus greening. There was actually a flyer on my door a couple of years ago saying they'd been by to inspect my trees and what I should be on the lookout for. Considering the number of homes in California that have citrus trees (estimated at 70 percent!), going door-to-door is a major undertaking! http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/acp/

                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                              Florida did a door to door and cut down a lot of infected trees on private yards, and gave the owners a Walmart gift certificate for their loss, I don't recall the amount. It didn't help.
                                                                              The future of Florida citrus is in doubt, a $6.6 billion business. Smart people have been engaged to find solutions, the outcome is unknown. Where I am in Manatee County, there are 23,000 planted acres with over 3 million citrus trees. Near the Tropicana plant and headquarters in Bradenton, where orange juice leaves town in railroad cars. The 6:00 AM train whistle is my alarm clock.

                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                Yeah, but here they did door-to-door at the first inkling that there might be an infestation and they did it throughout the state -- the nearest infestation to me is about 200 miles away. I think California has the benefit of not being quite as good an environment for the disease carrying pest, but this is an aspect of climate change that people don't think about: fewer chill hours means that pests that previously were kept in check in some areas by cold temperatures are now surviving better and moving into critical food production zones.

                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                  In Florida, the canker and the greening disease are bacteria and viruses, and are usually airborne. There is no easy remedy. The problem is much more complex than pest control. Unfortunately, Ruth, you will hear more about it.

                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                    I don't know about the canker, but citrus greening is a bacterium spread by an insect (the Asian citrus psyllid). Airborne diseases don't spread nearly as well as those that have a vector that can carry them much farther, especially since trees don't cough of sneeze.

                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                      ruth, i always thught of you as a learned cook and writer. But
                                                                                      Are you a biologist too?

                                                                                      <In epidemiology, a vector is any agent (person, animal or microorganism) that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism.[1][2][3]> from Wiki

                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                        No, but I publish regulations for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Also an editor who insists on using proper singular/plural forms of Latin words (i.e. bacterium/bacteria). Vector is really an important word for understanding disease and public health. Governments and agriculture spend a lot of money on various kinds of vector control (human, rodent, insect, etc.).

                                                                          2. re: JMF

                                                                            Just stopped at Best Yet today, lime bin still empty despite (or because of) a decent sale price, considering.

                                                                          3. When I stopped in at Trader Joe's in last night, I noticed that limes were still cheap there -- < $3 for 8, vs Fairway's $3 for 4, for similar size fruit. I guess they have a longer supply chain?

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: MikeG

                                                                              what i believe i learned through this thread is that those dark green bumpy limes sold by TrJ are the less juicy type.

                                                                            2. Finally: Smallish limes 3 for $2 (I only got 2). Ahhhh!

                                                                                1. I heard the cartels are hijacking the lime shipments. Wonder why ; Any ideas ?

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: emglow101

                                                                                    They are extorting payments from the Farmers. If the Fammers refuse to pay, the Extortionists do not let the Produce get to Market

                                                                                  2. I just got my street fruit (Dear Los Angeles, I love you) and was met with sadness when I asked for a squeeze o lime over my bounty. I had to decline the chili powder for worries that the fruit would not be "wet" enough and that my mouth would burst into flames.

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: abbyp

                                                                                      Could you say that again, in English?

                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                        there was no lime to put on her fruit from the Street Vendor so she skipped the chili as well in fear of either not sticking or being too picante.
                                                                                        Merely a translation no validation or endorsement implied

                                                                                        1. re: chefj

                                                                                          Possibly Opinionatedchef is not familiar with Mexican fruit carts, which sell baggies of sliced up fruits (and sometimes veggies like jicama or cucumber) over which they then squeeze a lime and sprinkle some chili powder. It's pretty amazing: cool, wet, tart, sweet and hot!

                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                              You learn something new every day! I'm off to a good start....

                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                Thanks for the translation! It is by far my favorite food in LA. Is that weird?

                                                                                                1. re: abbyp

                                                                                                  Not at all. As I said, it's amazing that something so simple can be so good!

                                                                                        2. went to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant for some pho...got a wedge of lemon instead of lime.

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                                                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                                                            Wow, it's come to that.
                                                                                            The prices at ethnic places like that must really be hurting them.

                                                                                          2. It can be done.

                                                                                            Winter-grown indoor Calamansi limes. Crop of 29, about the size of large cherry tomatoes, and good on meat, fish, noodles, or with the beverage of your choice.

                                                                                            Not mine but a video on indoor Calamansi:

                                                                                            1. Saw some wizened little limes today in CT for $1.89 each!

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                                                                                              1. re: ElsieB

                                                                                                That's terrible! I'm getting smallish ones on Long Island but juicy 3 for $2, I just don't go crazy with them. My friends in Queens, we were there for Easter, the exact same price. I praised her extravagence at having a whole tray of sliced limes on the bar.

                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                  I made a second batch of lime curd and still have a more than a dozen limes left. Maybe I should be selling them out of the back of my car! Also, a big box of Meyer lemons appeared on my front porch yesterday. There's a reason we pay big bucks to live in California!

                                                                                              2. My cousin who lives in Homer, Alaska just posted on Facebook that she paid 8.94 for 6 "sorry looking tiny ugly limes". Produce up there is more expensive in general but that price is just crazy.

                                                                                                  1. The local Balducci's saves my bacon at the last moment again. Six bags of keys, just as I was running out from the last bags ( at this point, I don't care how much they charge for a bag, I'm just greatful there ARE bags) Squozen and frozen that should be enough to get me through until things are normal again. At least assuming that, of the multiple causes of the current situation, the seasonal and climatic ones are the major contributors i.e. with the new season, the situation will improve) (if, on the other hand, the cartel activity is now the major component of the current situation, we may all be looking at a new order of things.)

                                                                                                      1. Well, the record high price in my neck of the woods is $1 each.
                                                                                                        Safeway has them @ $79 and they were labeled "small" limes- they looked like Key limes.

                                                                                                        When will this end?

                                                                                                        1. Just my luck; I find out about this JUST when I discover that the unusually harsh winter utterly destroyed my white alpine stawberries! And no way on the whey; not with my reaction to dairy. Verjuice sounds viable, but where to get unripe grapes (verjuice does not bottle all that well (despite what the sellers say) so it's better to squeeze your own fresh)) If I wasn't worried about pesticides (and was a bit more confident about my skills in wild plant identification) this almost sounds like a good reason to try the juice of fox grapes (V. vulpina, not V. labrusca).

                                                                                                          1. Was served a margarita today with a lemon wedge. I should have bartered some of my limes with them!

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                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                              We should all start carrying a fresh lime with us when you go out to eat, like some do hot sauce or maple syrup.

                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                One could of course, but then you would become a target for, or held for ransom by the Lime Mafia.

                                                                                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                Apparently some people are bartering limes:

                                                                                                                Lime Shortage Drives Up Prices at Bars and Restaurants in U.S.
                                                                                                                As Margarita-Fueled Cinco de Mayo Nears, Mexican Restaurants Ask Customers to Harvest From Home:


                                                                                                              3. Serious update.

                                                                                                                I just got back from my semi weekly trip to a little bodega near me, and they are FULL of limes. Not only is the regular lime bin full (and I think they are still selling at 0.99 per 3 or so, but they had PILES of bags of what looked like key limes (though since they were a little bigger than what I usually think of as keys, they were more likely the slightly larger Mexican Lime, the other major type of the aurantifolia species for $3.99 a bag. I didn't buy any (the bags I got yesterday should keep me tided over a while) but when I need more limes, I think I might do better there than anywhere else.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mexivilla

                                                                                                                    Every produce has its bad times, guess we'll just have to wait.

                                                                                                                  2. limes 1.50 in w.c canada. grapes 6.59 a pound! usually 1.29-2.99 funny thing is key limes are cheap. bought a bag of 15-20 for $3.

                                                                                                                    1. Two weeks ago - Fiesta Market Place, Sugar Land TX - 2/$1

                                                                                                                      Last week and this, 44 cents apiece at WM Neighborhood Market, SW Houston, labeled 'from Mexico'

                                                                                                                      Last week, HEB, Houston, 3/$1

                                                                                                                      All had good green color but were probably all Mexican limes, a little on the small side. The ones I bought from Fiesta were not very juicy.

                                                                                                                      This week, Randall's (Safeway) is advertising keys at .99 cents a pound.

                                                                                                                      That's the only grocery circular this week even mentioning limes.

                                                                                                                      1. After seeing them for $1.89 ea, a few days later in the big grocery store there were not great looking limes for .89 ea and in another area were bags of organic limes, 9 in the bag for $2.29 for each bag of 9!. Don't know if they were mismarked but I bought 4 bags, washed and froze most of them. And they were nice and juicy!

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                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                            I freeze limes and lemons whole. Wash, dry, and then toss into the freezer; without bagging. Easy to grate of a bit of zest, and then toss back into the freezer. Defrost for 10-30 seconds and rest 1 minute, then squeeze for juice.

                                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                              Same as Karen, very easy to zest and juice. I rarely need the whole fruit so if it is a bit flabby or sad looking it doesn't matter. Tho, I do keep them in a container in the freezer.

                                                                                                                          2. I know this is months old but the lime shortage even hit us back 3 months ago.
                                                                                                                            Just saw yesterday a vendor yesterday selling 3 kilos (about 6,5 lbs) for 10 pesos ( less than 80 cents US) and had probably a thousand kilos on his truck.

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                                                                                                                            1. re: genoO

                                                                                                                              They're five for 98 cents here, I think the worst is over.

                                                                                                                            2. yup over in canada too. costco has over a dozen for 4 bucks. but now lemons are missing.

                                                                                                                              1. Limes are down to .50 a piece and Costco is selling bags for a quite decent price.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                  I forgot to check in a few weeks ago when they were 4 or 5 for $1 at my Mexico Meat Market.