PALM DESERT, Calif. - A key ingredient for your favorite margarita or guacamole recipe is in the limelight. Bad weather along with drug cartels have created a shortage in Mexican limes.
"The prices zoomed up astronomically about a month and a half ago," said Ray Rodriguez, owner of Casuelas Cafe in Palm Desert.
This explains why some valley restaurants aren't serving limes and instead posting signs warning their customers of the shortage. Other restaurants, such as Casuelas Cafe, are serving lime. But, they are doing so sparingly.
"You're a little more careful and I'm not saying the servers might not cut them just a hair thinner," added Rodriguez.
According to Produce Director and Buyer Jim Madala, Jensen's Foods is also feeling the price squeeze.
"Normally the limes are usually around $13.50 to $14 a case for limes and because of the shortage in a short period of time they skyrocketed to $115 a case for limes," said Madala.
But, there is good news. Madala says relief is in sight.
"Relief is in sight in about four weeks out of Ventura County US production of limes will be starting back and the cost will start going down."
Madala says when this happens, restaurants will start to carry limes again.
In the meantime, some say lemon is a good citrus replacement for limes. However, others disagree.
"It's a whole different fruit as far as I'm concerned anyway," said Chico Anzures, a Jensen's shopper. "I don't think you can replace a lime with a lemon, especially on cocktails!"
Rodriguez has a solution.
"We've got limes," he says. "Come on in and have a margarita, have a good time!"