​Lime Prices Hit Historic Highs, Panic Ensues

The market has soured on cheap citrus: In the past year, the price of limes—or, as experts are calling them now, "green gold"— has skyrocketed, reaching heights never before seen.

Some places, like Texas, have seen prices quadruple in just the last few weeks alone; nationwide, the prices have more than doubled in the past year.

"We're at an unprecedented price point," Ronnie Cohen, the vice president of sales for Vision Import Group, a produce importer based in New Jersey, told USA TODAY. Forty pound boxes cost about $40 last year; now, they're more than $100, Cohen said.

"This is something we've never seen for any fruit or vegetable," a buyer for Hardie's Fruit and Vegetable Co. in Dallas said, adding that now he pays more than $100 per box, compared to just $20 last month.

"The prices are insane," Dave Samuels, of Ingardia Bros. Produce in Santa Ana, Ca., told the Press-Enterprise.

Bad weather combined with supplies hoarding has caused a crop shortage in Mexico, raising prices and, according to Cohen, causing some in the "lime community" to describe the fruit as "oro verde," or "green gold."

Experts are divided on how long the crisis will last. Cohen said the harvest in May will bring some "price relief," though the wholesalers who spoke with Reuters said the high prices will continue indefinitely.

Those hardest hit by the shortage are the Mexican restaurant owners in Texas, many of whom were eager to share their sense of lime dread with reporters.

"I'm still gonna buy limes," Joe Lancarte, a Dallas restaurant owner, told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. "I'm just not gonna put them on every single glass, probably, if it gets to that point."

[Image via Shutterstock]