Syrup Shortage: Warm Weather has Led to “Yucky” Maple Syrup

Syrup connoisseurs all over the country are crying tears of sadness.

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Forget Facebook shares: it may be time to start stocking up on maple syrup.

Unusually warm weather will cause this year’s U.S. maple syrup production to drop as much as 40%, according to Reuters. Sugar maple trees need freezing temperatures at night to sustain sap production, and the warmest March on record  has caused yields and syrup quality to plummet.

U.S. production will likely be around 18 million pounds this year, down from 30 million pounds in 2011, according to a new crop estimate report from Arthur Coombs of Bascom Maple Farms in Alstead, New Hampshire.

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“You take 80 degrees in March by golly it don’t help nothing,” Alfred Carrier, a sugarmaker in Glover, Vermont, told Reuters. “We had quite a lot of off-flavored syrup. I don’t think you’d want to put it on a pancake.”

Syrup that is unfit for pancakes is typically sold for industrial purposes — such as flavoring chewing tobacco or salad dressing.

The tress that didn’t dry up just produced “yucky” syrup, according to Denise Marshall, owner of syrup distributor D&D Sugarwoods in Vermont. Maple syrup is not something people take lightly. Remember when New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer sponsored a bill that made selling imitation maple syrup labeled as the real thing a felony?

The shortage has so far only caused a 5% bump in retail prices, however, thanks to our friends up north.  According to Reuters, the Federation of Quebec Maple Producers — who account for about 80% of the world’s maple syrup production — have held back a 38-million-pound reserve from its bumper crop in 2011. That should be enough to keep the sweet stuff flowing.

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