Heads up, folks, because the US appears to be in the middle of a lime shortage. Thanks to poor weather conditions that caused floods, as well as some civil unrest issues down in Mexico, many of the lime trees have been killed off, and a large portion of the Mexican lime crops failed this year. Because Mexican citrus farms provides a whopping 95 percent of the limes consumed in the United States, and in combination with the drought in California making a poor showing of lime crops there as well, that makes for a disaster which some have dubbed the “limepocalypse”.
Naturally, lime prices are soaring through the roof as a result. A 40-pound crate of Mexican limes has been costing the consumer more than $100 wholesale, four times the typical seasonal price. Limes have become such an expensive commodity in Mexico that drug cartels have taken notice. Some of them are even extorting money from the growers, driving up prices even further.
Restaurants that usually provide lime as part of their beverages have been hit especially hard, and it shows up in the quality or price of the affected drinks. Also troubled by the loss are manufacturers of foods that normally use limes as an ingredient. Yes, there are those who have simply replaced limes with another ingredient such as lemons, but in some cases it’s just not the same.
Even the airlines are feeling the lime crunch. Many have recently decided, temporarily at least, to serve their beverages without any limes, though some may offer lemon as a substitute. Still, many people who prefer their limes are disappointed by the loss.
Since Cinco de Mayo is usually a major event for many Mexican establishments, they are having to rethink their citrus strategies as the celebration rapidly approaches. Many have decided to use pre-packaged lime juice, or switching to lemon whenever possible, to help defray the costs.
Lime-free recipe ideas for internet-savvy folks appear to be popping up as well, including the ones shown here.
So, if you were hoping for margueritas next month, you might want to do yourself a favor and leave those limes out of the recipe. After all, when life doesn’t give you limes, you can always make lemonade.
Limes are not the only crop shortage this year. Be sure to read about the wheat crops as well.