Supplies of limes currently from Mexico are tight.
“We had a significant amount of rain back in January so the weather conditions messed up the bloom,” says Alex Landin of Limonik Produce/Limones Monica based in McAllen, TX. “With the rain and the winds, the flowers were falling and those are limes we’re losing. If a tree was supposed to have say, 100 percent limes, we are only getting 50-60 percent bloom from the tree.”
Landin says the majority of the volume is on smaller fruit--think 230 and 250s--and less volume on larger sizes such as 150s.
Supplies are largely coming from Veracruz currently. “Other regions such as Sinaloa and Jalisco are also short on fruit,” says Landin, noting more volume tends to come on during July/August. “But they could also see some shortages around that time so this could be one of those years we’ve never seen before. Usually between July-September, limes get up to a $7-$8 market. This year we think it’s going to stay pretty strong. The lowest may be around $15.”
Increased lime demand
Meeting those shorter supplies is strong demand that is stronger than this time last year. “It could also be because there are a lot of people who don’t have limes--they’re difficult to find,” says Landin. He also notes that retail business on the citrus fruit has increased given the closures over the past year of bars and restaurants. “People have been drinking at home for example rather than going to bars so they’re buying limes for at home,” he says.
As for pricing, Landin predicts it to stay strong throughout May. “If it does decrease, it’ll be only by a little bit,” he says. “It’ll stay in the $40s--the smaller sizes will stay on the cheaper end because there’s more volume. But if the prices on the smaller sizes fall too much, the growers will then stop harvesting to allow the limes to develop into bigger sizes. The bigger sizes such as 200s will be stronger on price. But come June, we should see pricing in the $30s going down to the $20s.”
Landin adds that the growing regions are hoping for more rain currently because otherwise tight supplies will be seen again in the fall.