The sudden shortage of limes coming into the U.S. from Mexico this spring, which resulted in high prices for the fruit and drinks like margaritas, was blamed on plant damage from inclement weather and involvement by some of the country's infamous drug cartels.
Prices per 40-pound crate have quadrupled from $25 to $100 since February. The rainy winter and bacterial disease have significantly reduced production in states like Colima on the Pacific Coast, where key limes primarily come from. (Mexico provides 95% of the limes used in the U.S.) Limes are currently selling for $1.50 each in New York, up from a quarter or less.
Update: Prices have dropped since the April shortage. Limes are once again being sold in the States at their usual low prices (5 for a $1).
In recent years, cartels have muscled their way into the mango and avocado trades. Now's it's limes. There've been reports of trucks filled with "the new green gold" being hijacked.
"While it's ironic that the current lime crisis may in some part be blowback from our own drug policies," David Carp writes in the New York Times, "it's crucial to remember that a few months of inconvenience to American margarita lovers is trifling compared with the anguish of Mexicans whose livelihoods and lives have been destroyed."