Served with high lime prices, Mexican restaurants make lemonade

BY Margaret Myers  March 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM EDT

Photo by Flickr user Darwin Bell

Bad weather in Mexico has caused the price of limes to surge in the U.S. Photo by Flickr user Darwin Bell

On a sour note, Mexican restaurants in the U.S. are confronting a surge in lime prices that have forced some to make do without the essential ingredient on their menus.

Bryan Black, director of communications for the Texas Department of Agriculture, pointed to heavy rains in Mexico that have destroyed a large amount of the lime crop. “With limited supplies we are seeing lime prices skyrocket,” he said Thursday.

John Berry, who runs the Mexican restaurant La Fonda in San Antonio, told Reuters that the price he pays for a case of limes has jumped to nearly $100 from $14 last year.

“Real simple,” Berry said. “We don’t buy them. We substitute lemons.”

Most limes consumed in the U.S. come from the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Colima, and Guerrero, which have been hit by heavy rain and cold weather, according to the Reuters report.

There have also been reports of shipments being disrupted by drug cartels. The Knight’s Templar cartel reportedly controls, through extortion, Michoacán’s lime and avocado production.