Avocado shortage hits restaurants, markets

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The rising cost of avocados may force some people to dip their chips in salsa rather than guacamole. (WLS)

The rising cost of avocados may force some people to dip their chips in salsa rather than guacamole.

Customers at La Guadalupana Taqueria near Chicago miss the favorite from the menu.

"Sometimes people say, 'I can pay more, but give me guacamole, give me avocado.' And we say, 'I'm sorry. We don't have it,'" Maria Lopez said.

Restauranteurs and retailers are having troubling finding avocados. Restaurateurs

"Even the big guys are getting cut out," said Wayne Passof, of J.L. Gonzalez Produce Inc.

J.L. Gonzalez usually sells a lot of avocados this time of year. He says his storage room would usually be filled. Currently, it's the only wholesaler at the Chicago International Produce Market holding the fruit.

Passoff is known as the "tomato man" at the market, but he knows avocados, too. He said fall avocados come from Michoacan, Mexico, but now that's not happening so much.

"A little bit due to weather and a lot of labor situations out there," Passof said. "Being that it's the primary source of avocados this time of year it creates a shortage all over the country."

Lupe Osornio does logistics. She said produce trucks don't leave Mexico unless they are filled, so it's a struggle getting any avocados in Chicago.

"Once we actually get a hold of a truckload, we find almost the fastest driver to get here. Because we want them here and the product is hot," Lopez said.

What's "hot" means fans of the fleshy fruit will likely pay more. On Wednesday, wholesalers were selling avocados for over $70 a box. An average price this time of year is $25 a box.
Related Topics:
foodfoodavocadomexicou.s. & worldbusinessIllinois
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