Nation & World

Limes and avocados are cheaper - just in time for Cinco De Mayo

(File photo) A margarita sits on the bar at Caucho in the New Bohemia neighborhood in Cedar Rapids on Friday, January 19, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
(File photo) A margarita sits on the bar at Caucho in the New Bohemia neighborhood in Cedar Rapids on Friday, January 19, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Lime supplies are picking up just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

After several months of higher-than-normal prices and some supply shortages, the market has eased amid improving crop weather, according to Stephanie Fyle, an Atlanta-based executive vice president of procurement at Produce Alliance, which provides fresh food to food-service clients.

That’s good news for shoppers looking to squeeze the fruit into margaritas or flavor guacamole for the May 5 holiday. The date of the Mexican Army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 has become a broader celebration of Mexican-American culture in the U.S.

Lime prices typically peak in March and April, partly boosted by demand ahead of Cinco de Mayo, said Roland Fumasi, a Fresno, California-based senior analyst at Rabobank International. The seasonal gains were exacerbated this year because of adverse weather in Mexico, where growers who were first dealing with drought then faced excess rain. After conditions improved, wholesale prices fell to about $26 per 200-lime box last week, down from about $50 in mid-March he said.

“The spike is a seasonal kind of pattern,” Fumasi said. “I don’t think that retailers are going to change their menus because of the higher prices. Lime is used more as garnish for margaritas these days.”

Cheaper limes aren’t the only reason to celebrate. Avocados, the base for guacamole, are less expensive than last year. Wholesale prices for the Hass variety in Mexico City as of Wednesday are 25 percent lower than at this time in 2017, government data show.

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