A global maple syrup deficit caused by a lousy crop led the Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) to surrender around half of its strategic reserve. This is impacting breakfast and desserts in North America. Especially during the cold winter months.
For those who hike in the outdoors, adding maple syrup to your pack is an easy way to cook outdoors and offer calorie-dense meals.
Quebec produces more than 70% of the world’s maple syrup. This sweet syrup poured over pancakes and waffles in the United States, its largest customer. However, according to Bloomberg, Canadian Sugar Bushes could not meet worldwide demand this year, which grew by 21%.
Canada: The Maple Cartel of the North
The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers have been dubbed the maple syrup industry’s OPEC. According to the group, it has over 11,300 maple syrup producers. These farmers will generate over 133 million pounds of maple syrup in 2021.
According to industry representative Helene Normandin, they will sanction greater syrup production. The association hopes to make up for this year’s shortage. In July 2021, the QMSP determined that there are requirements for 7 million more taps in production. These additional taps will produce a sufficient amount of maple syrup to sustain the industry’s market expansion.
Climate Change, Lumbering, and Warmer Temperatures Have an Impact on Maple Production
As the season transitions from winter to spring, maple sap begins to run up the stems of the trees. This cycle continues during warm days and chilly nights. Sap flows from tree taps into buckets or plastic tubes in trees for collection. Maple syrup producers boil sap to condense it into maple syrup and sugar. The sap flow ceases when nighttime temperatures do not fall below freezing. From late January through early April, sugaring seasons can last eight weeks.
According to the USDA, maple syrup output in the United States in 2017 was 4.27 million gallons. The total value is around $147 million.
The freeze-thaw season occurs earlier in the year. Thus altering spring conditions and higher winter temperatures will likely shorten the sap gathering season. One poll found that 59 percent of maple producers had already experienced early sap tapping seasons.
The Maple Sugar Reserve Was A Popular Target For Criminals.
This isn’t the first time Quebec’s maple syrup reserves have made headlines. During 2012, Canada extracted more than 3,000 tons of maple syrup from the stockpile. Over $19 million worth of syrup was stolen in the heist. The syrup was stored in unmarked white metal barrels and inspected yearly. Then, thieves took barrels to a remote sugar shack siphoned off the maple syrup. They filled the barrels with water and returned them to the plant when done. This caper is considered one of the biggest heists in Canadian history.
Michigan Maple Syrup Producers
According to the Michigan Maple Syrup Producers, the state supplied 3% of overall syrup output in the United States. In terms of production, Vermont (42 percent), Maine (17 percent), and New York (17 percent) dominate the state. According to the group, there are 24 sugar bushes.
We went to the Battel farm in Michigan’s Thumb in 2020. The property boasts a 10-acre stand of approximately 300 Sugar Maple trees that have survived today. Following the fire of 1881, George and Annie Battel had the foresight to reserve the stand of Maples from further planting or growth. As a result, many “grandfather” trees are at least 4 feet broad and 160 years old. However, most maple trees are young and provide most of the sap used to manufacture maple syrup, candy, and sugar.
More About Maple Syrup
Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulture Professor at the University of Vermont, pointed out some interesting aspects about maple syrup.
Many people know that this syrup comes from the sugar maple tree sap, collected and cooked down each spring to make it thicker. In truth, native Americans were already thriving when the first European colonists arrived. Production of maple syrup is a fun family activity, a source of money, and many love using it. First, however, you should be aware of fascinating facts about this essential agricultural product in the northern United States and Canada.
Fast Facts About this Sweet Sap
Many fascinating statistics about this sweet syrup may be found on the Cornell University maple research and education website (maple.dnr.cornell.edu), including that it takes 43 gallons of sap (with a 2 percent sugar content) boiled down to generate a gallon of maple syrup. Because the sugar concentration of the sap varies depending on the tree and previous season growing circumstances, a gallon of syrup might range from 40 to 50 gallons or more. Sap has a sugar content of roughly 2.5 percent on average. If the tree grows too quickly, it may use more sugars, resulting in less tasty sap. Alternatively, if the tree is infested with pests or develops badly, it may generate fewer sugars.
In the spring, a tree in the forest with gravity lines or buckets may generate 10 to 14 gallons of sap, but roadside trees (or those in a maple stand with vacuum tubing) may produce 15 to 20 gallons. So, at least two roadside trees would yield enough sap to make around a gallon of syrup in a good season. But, of course, the amount of fluid collected will vary depending on the tree, the weather, the length of the sap season, and the method used to manage the sap.
The Natural Process of Maple Syrup Creation
The syrup we buy in a bottle starts as sugar in the leaves of maple trees, created through the photosynthesis process. Sugars seep into the wood in the form of carbs for winter storage. They are converted to sucrose in the spring and dissolved in the sap that flows through the tree.
Each spring, sugarmakers drill holes in sugar maple trees that are little about a half-inch diameter and two to three inches deep at an upward inclination. Farmers place Bits to hang buckets or similar containers (home sugarmakers may use plastic containers) or attach the colorful plastic tubing that is evident crisscrossing maple stands in the spring.
Only trees 10 inches or more in diameter should be tapped to prevent straining them. This is calculated at a typical height of four and a half feet above the ground (which may be seen as DBH or diameter at breast height). A tree 10 to 17 inches wide should have one tap, a tree 18 to 24 inches wide should have two taps, and a tree wider than that should have three fixtures. Sugar maples should not be harmed or stressed by proper tapping, and they may be fruitful for 100 years or more.