The soaring price of Mexican limes is sour news for restaurateurs as prices for the citrus have doubled, tripled or event more in recent weeks. And that’s not good news for your margarita.
“At $110 a case, it’s more expensive that a barrel of oil and is almost 5 times the average price we normally pay,” said Darren Chapple of Santa Rosa’s La Rosa Tequileria, whose restaurant uses several cases of limes each week. By comparison: In spring 2013 the average price for a single lime was 21 cents. Now, that same fruit will cost you a whopping now 53 cents, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Why the price hike? A plague of unfortunate events have hit the lime-growing regions of Mexico–the main exporter of limes to the U.S.–including bad weather that caused many trees to lose blooms and rot; a citrus disease wiping out entire orchards; and political unrest that has affected many lime-growing regions. Suffice to say drug cartels and thieves don’t make for great agricultural allies.
With lime-rimmed holidays like Cinco de Mayo on the horizon, restaurateurs are worried.
“Unfortunately we can’t (and won’t ever), stop using them to make our margaritas but we’ve stopped presenting them on most drinks and seafood dishes to save as much as possible, but we’re still going through an awful lot, as always,” said Chapple.
The good news: Prices are expected to go down in May, with the next harvest. In the meantime, don’t expect to see lime wedges adorning we’re desperately hoping it ends much sooner and definitely before the madness of Cinco de Mayo.”