That batch of hurricanes that hit Florida last summer left us with a transient tomato shortage. There have also been less well reported floods in California and pest issues in Mexico:
The result has been a national tomato shortage that has sent prices climbing like a vine seeking light. With costs up and quality down, some national restaurant chains are reconsidering their marketing strategies to keep the thought of juicy, tender tomatoes off customers' minds, or switching recipes to make up for the absence of certain hard-to-find varieties.
So much for the cheap pasta dish :)