Restaurants May Begin Serving Burgers Without Key Ingredient Due to Shortage

Are you a fan of pickle on your burgers? If so, you might be interested to know that extreme weather in Mexico is affecting their availability in the U.S.

Americans eat over 20 billion pickles annually. Recently, a "national pickle shortage" has been noted by restaurants like Firehouse Subs and local delis. This shortage is real, confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and North Carolina State University experts. They cite extreme weather and heavy reliance on imports as the main issues.

Jonathan Schultheis, a professor at N.C. State University, explained to FOX Weather, "There indeed has been a shortage in pickling cucumbers, and it has to do with reduced supply from Mexico." He noted that excessive heat and unusually cold weather in Mexico's key regions have hampered cucumber yields.

The U.S. imports over a million tons of cucumbers annually, mostly from Mexico. However, imports have decreased by at least 7%, according to USDA data. This heavy dependency on imports is causing problems for many businesses.

El Niño, a climate cycle, has been affecting weather across all 31 states of Mexico. It typically brings wetter, cooler winters and hot, dry summers. However, ideal growing conditions for pickling cucumbers, which are between 70 °F to 90 °F, have been inconsistent.

Drought conditions have prevailed across vast areas, reducing water levels in reservoirs. Mexico’s National Water Commission has had to restrict water from some reservoirs due to high demand.

Cucumber cultivation requires significant rainfall, roughly one inch per week. Although the summer monsoon brings most of Mexico's rain, its irregularity makes it an unreliable solution for the drought.