Drug cartels, weather being blamed for pricey limes

Green gold is what some are now calling them. Limes have seen sharp price hikes because of weather and something else
April 3, 2014 8:27:08 PM PDT
Green gold, that is what some are now calling limes. The green fruit has seen sharp price hikes because of weather and something you might not suspect.

In February, you could get a handful of limes for a dollar, now they are nearly one dollar each and the price could go even higher in part because of Mexican drug cartels.

Karen and C.E. Cantrell love limes.

"We use a lot of limes, I prefer limes to lemons for cooking and different things," Karen said. "The prices have gone up, I have noticed that."

What she does not like is that lime prices have gone from $16 for a 40-pound box in December to $130 for the same box in just four months.

"Liquid gold right here, green gold should I say," said Darryl Johnson at Chef's Produce in Houston.

Johnson says he thought the price of limes had peaked at $60 a box, but the prices have more than doubled and may keep heading up. The reason...

"Limited supplies," Johnson said.

Two factors are squeezing that supply. Bad weather during the growing season in Mexico and Mexican drug cartels which are seizing trucks of limes and demanding ransom for the produce.

We're told one truck load of limes is worth $300,000. It's got restaurant owners like Houston's Ricardo Molina taking steps to keep from passing the price hikes on to customers.

"The garnish pieces are getting a little bit smaller and if people for instance get a Dos Equis Lager, the green bottle, automatically the wait staff would put a lime in it thinking everybody wants one, well now they are asking before they do that," Molina's Restaurant owner Ricardo Molina said.

But in the grocery store, no such relief, limes are nearing $1 each and small limes are now $2 for 5. That comes out to 40 cents each.

We asked when the prices will come down, and we were told it may be another few weeks, but no one knows for certain.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13


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