Friday, March 28, 2014

Another Crisis - And This One Is Serious

There's a crisis of epic proportions brewing here in South Texas.

Margaritas in danger as lime prices at all-time high
Patrons in San Antonio and other restaurants across the country may be noticing a key ingredient missing from their margarita ... limes.

Wholesalers and local restaurant managers say prices for the small citrus fruit has rocketed to an all-time high during the last month... Some restaurants in the Alamo City say they've been forced to make adjustments, including garnishing margaritas, water and tea with lemons rather than limes or only offering the sour fruit upon request.

In the Tex-Mex world, this is a big deal.
Big?!? It's friggin' HUGE!
“Prices for limes are at a historical high,” said Paul Gonzalez, Jr., a produce buyer for River City Produce, one of the largest produce and food service wholesalers in San Antonio. “A case of limes in the summer normally runs about $4 and that can get up to $25 in the winter. Prices right now have reached $95 or $100 for a case…
If my math's right, $4 to $100 is a 2500% increase. Forget gold or natural gas - invest in limes.
Gonzalez said the majority of limes in Texas are imported from Mexico and a mixture of unseasonably cold weather, hurricane and storm systems and drought has contributed much of the price increase.
Oh, sure - blame it on global warming, or climate change, or whatever it is they're calling it now.
Keith Ludwick, a manager at Acenar, said most of the restaurant's vendors don't even have limes, and if they do, the prices are unbelievably high. He said the cartels in Mexico have increasingly made exports from the country more difficult, which he believes also plays a role.
Smuggling drugs into the country, extorting and killing people, that's bad enough. But interfering with margaritas?!? Now they've gone too far.
David Flores, who has bartended at Rita's on the River Walk for two years, called the increase in price and decrease in availability “frustrating” for him as well as customers. The restaurant is only offering limes upon request, he said.
Flores typically slices two-and-a-half buckets of limes for a shift and now he only does a fifth of that.
“We are having to use lime concentrate (for the margaritas) and that takes away from the uniqueness of our restaurant using everything fresh,” he said.

Gonzalez said he wouldn't be surprised if some limes in grocery stores rise to nearly a dollar each and bars could employ a surcharge for dressing beer with lime and salt.
"It should make for a very interesting Cinco de Mayo,” he said.
Well, we Texans have overcome hardships before. We'll struggle our way through the rest of this year, and trust in Almighty Providence to provide a bountiful lime crop next year.


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