- The price of limes has risen approximately 500% — from around $20 per case a few weeks ago to more than $100 as of this week.
- While the weather does play a part in the shortage, Mexican drug cartels also play a role, as they've edged out lime growers from the region.
- The higher lime prices have caused many Mexican restaurants to replace the green citrus fruit central to so many of their drinks and dishes with lemons.
Bryan Black, director of communications for the Texas Department of Agriculture, said on Thursday: "Mexico received some heavy rains that destroyed a large amount of the lime crop, so with limited supplies we are seeing lime prices skyrocket." On top of the weather problems, lime growers are obstructed by Mexican drug cartels who operate in the same area in Michoacán. Wholesalers say the violence from drug gangs has disrupted lime shipments.
The result is very high prices for the few limes available. Joe Lancarte, owner of Joe T. Garcia's in Fort Worth, Texas, said he paid $2,200 for 20 cases of limes on Thursday. Due to the steep price, he said he will not put limes out on every glass, as he has in the past. Some restaurants are going even further, substituting lemons for limes. That's what John Berry, who runs La Fonda, a Mexican restaurant in San Antonio, said he would do. Food prices, particularly produce prices, are on the rise in general, but a 500% increase over just a few weeks is a lot, even by the current inflationary standard.