Lime shortage squeezing Halifax restaurant
Drug cartel, cold weather and agricultural pests driving price of lime up to $1.29
At least one Halifax restaurant says it's feeling the squeeze as a lime shortage hikes up the price of the tangy fruit in Canada.
At the restaurant Mexico Lindo, limes are a vital ingredient in almost everything. Especially their creamy, tangy guacamole.
"Actually we say in Mexico we use limes for everything. For soups, for salads, for drinks. We try to incorporate it in every meal," says cook Ana Jimenez-Jenkins.
The restaurant buys limes by the box. They used to be $15 per box, but now a cost almost $30.
Jimenez-Jenkins has tried alternatives, but says they just don't cut it.
"I actually tried some oranges, but the flavour is not there. And I tried the liquid one, but I can't touch it," she said.
According to the Atlantic Superstore the majority of limes people see in Nova Scotia come from Mexico, but the country is grappling with a melange of production problems.
Agricultural pests, damaged trees and even violence from a Mexican drug cartel in the lime-producing state have curtailed lime production.
Canadians tend to buy a few limes for a dollar. Now some Atlantic Canadian grocery stores are charging close to $1.30 per lime.
Luckily Jimenez-Jenkins has a trick to make limes stretch.
"Just freeze some of them and grate it. The flavour is there. We can use more than just the juice from them," she advises.
It's not a trick that can work for all bars, which rely heavily on limes for juice and as a garnish.
For now, Mexico Lindo is eating the extra cost of limes, rather than passing it on to their customers.
"No, we decided to wait a little longer to see how the market will be." Jimenez-Jenkins said.
The Atlantic Superstore says demand for limes is likely to remain high around Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the U.S.
Forecasters expect the prices to back off again in June.