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Lime prices surge higher than normal

By Femi Abebefe
Published On: Apr 30 2014 01:39:33 AM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Femi Abebefe learned that lime prices are at an all-time high, but could be going down soon.

BEND, Ore. -

Spring is here, but nationwide lime prices are close to an all-time high. Some places have seen prices increase by close to four times, and it has some High Desert shoppers wondering what's causing this trend.

"When it goes just to one area, everybody is drawn to the same area, which causes a shortage, which increases the price," Brian Moothart, produce manager at Newport Avenue Market, said Tuesday.

That area is Mexico, where the United States gets 97 percent of its limes.

In Bend, the Pine Tavern Restaurant recently spent $109 on a case of 200 limes -- an amount they usually spend $40 to $50 on.

"What we decided to do, because of the quality that we do, we didn't pass the expense onto our guests,” said Michael Poe, general manager. “We just absorbed it, knowing that it's going to come down eventually, and it's worked out really well for us."

Newport Avenue Market has experienced similar increases, as it saw its prices get up to as high as $1.59 for a lime during this shortage.

"We're fortunate to have limes from Mexico,” Moothart said. “Their crop is large enough where they can supply everybody."

Everybody including shoppers, who this time of year use limes for a number of things.

"Margaritas -- I use them for my fish,” Steve Madsen said. “So yeah, we're going to see an effect.

Another consumer said the shortage won't stop him from buying the limes because they're more of an accessory, not a necessity.

"Doesn't affect me a whole lot,” Mike O’Neil said. “It's not a big item. I don't buy a lot of limes."

Moothart said people shouldn't worry, because the market can quickly change.

"As fast as the market goes up, it can come down," Moothart said.

As of now, it looks like the prices may start to decline, just in time for summer.

"I just talked to our produce vendor yesterday about it,” Poe said. “They're expecting for it to start ratcheting down fairly quickly."

During the shortage, some shoppers have opted for lime juice, instead of actual limes. Newport Market expects prices to get back to normal in a couple months.

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