What's a margarita without fresh-squeezed lime juice? Or guac without that signature sweet-tart kick?
Sadly, it looks like we might have to start looking for new ways to add flavour to our favourite summer treats this year, as heavy rains in Mexico have led to a serious shortage of the prized citrus fruit.
Fox News reports that the world's leading producer of limes suffered debilitating rains late last year, which affected the lime blossoms. As a result, Mexican lime exports have fallen as much as 70 per cent, jacking the current price up to $70 to $100 for 40 pounds of limes, compared to $25 for the same amount back in February.
For Canadian consumers, that means you can expect to pay up to $1.50 per lime -- five times the normal $0.30 price tag for limes in the country.
In addition to the heavy rains, the New York Times reports that a deadly disease has spread through Mexican lime crops, wiping out entire trees for good.
All of this has culminated in a serious lime shortage -- and given the citrus' status as a key player in many popular restaurant menu items (think alcoholic beverages and guacamole) -- this may very well lead restaurant owners to jack up their prices in order to balance the books.
Surprisingly (or is it?), limes, which some are now referring to as "green gold," have now become a hot item on the black market. NPR reports that Mexican mobsters are holding lime sellers and transporters at gunpoint until they forfeit their fruits, which are then sold to restaurants and wholesale suppliers.
With any luck, a fresh crop of limes from the spring harvest should start to hit the market in May (just in time for Cinco de Mayo!).
That being said, there's no telling as to whether other factors, such as ongoing violence and civil unrest in the state of Michoacan (a major lime producer) will affect the output of this crop.