At home we had no fruit trees because they just didn't grow. Nonetheless, the garden had oranges, limes, and Palestinian sweet limes. I remember that once we had tomatoes and tomatillos. We had a whole bunch of Mexican black cherries, known as capulines, and of course, we always relied on René and José Luis, our most trusted fruit and vegetable vendors from the market stand always ‘threatened' by my mother to bring back the produce if it wasn't tasty enough. And as a matter of fact, she never did, because they were excellent merchants and their produce was of top quality, delicious to say the least. I must say that I stopped buying from them only when their location and mine stopped being convenient. Once, I remember someone telling me they had no idea I would be so savvy and agile when buying at the market, but until they saw me interact with my prefered produce providers on the corner of Avenida STIM and Bosques de Reforma in mexico City. As any woman living alone and working all day, every day, my consumption of all agricultural products started to come from the supermarket, and when I wanted to be more stylish I went to get organics. I wasn't, however, worried for the availability of a papaya, or a jicama, or for the price of the watermelon, or seedless limes.
Therefore, when we crossed the big blue Atlantic Ocean, one of my worries regarding the way I ate wasn't precisely about availability, but price. Then, when I started to become conscious about what I was craving, I got worried about finding how to satisfy such craving, and I even started to talk and learn about seasonal products. But the first thing I had to cut on were limes. If you're reading this and you're not of Mexican origin, let me share that in my country limes are EVERYTHING. We put lime juice everywhere, promise. As a matter of fact, we're not fond of and even dare to not like lemons. For us, lemons are limes, and limes are Palestinian sweet limes. That's it, and that's how we like it! Hahahaha! We drink lemonade (made with limes, obviously), to hydrate ourselves when the weather is hot, we use it to hydrate ourselves at all times. We pamper our bodies when we have a cold by putting its juice on tea, on chicken soup, on noodle soup, and even in tortillas when there's nothing else to put in them and make a taco out of that and a little salt to tickle the taste buds. Anyhow, I could jot down a very very long list including even junk food to which lime juice is added, and I promise, you wouldn't even believe it's true, and yet, it would be. Thus, when I first went to the supermarket and the market, I got goosebumps when seeing that 3 lemons would cost me 1,00€, and to make it worse, they were lemons, not limes. So, with the spirit quite down, we started to eliminate much of the lime consumption. With time, I gave in, and bought it. I even found little bags with 1lb. of lemons at Carrefour, but when comparing them with the quality of the 3×1,00€ the difference was abysmal, so like I said, I gave in again. When I felt like dominating the situation, I found I could buy my precious lemons at the same price. Two years later, they have gone up and now cost 3×1,50€, but the shock has passed, and the consumption has increased with time. And when there are no limes, I enjoy lemons.
But one day while I was reading the news and my Twitter and Facebook timelines I found everyone at awe. The price of limes had skyrocketed, and even in Europe it had become cheaper than in the Producing and world-Providing Mexico. When I visited my country a couple of weeks later I was able to confirm it. Unbelievable! I went to a popular supermarket in the middle of the city and THERE WERE NO LIMES! It was a total scandal and newspapers were saying that wholesalers in the Central Market were pricing them well beyond 50 USD a case. A never before seen kind of crisis. Were my fellow mexicans facing something similar to what each one of us who live abroad goes through upon arriving to conquer new latitudes? When will the so-called self-defense groups let these round juicy and delicious harvests from the states of Colima and Michoacán before they rotten? Someone even told me we would suffer the consequences in Europe. I have to admit that in all confidence I answered:
– No, the Brazilians will provide them.
And so they did.
In the meantime, and even when the Mexican government made as much damage control as possible, I have heard many say that if life gives you lemons… now, you're a millionaire.
Here, the price hasn't gone up. You still pay 1,50€ for three lemons… or limes, whatever you prefer to get at the market. Nonetheless, the season for lemonade and veggie crudités with lime juice is just around the corner, however, I think MY BELOVED MEXICAN LIMES will be absent, for I want to keep on enjoying it, and hope you do the same as well.