Have you noticed a bad taste to your maple syrup lately? The reason for that less than stellar finished product is being blamed on unseasonably warm weather and a lack of frost filled nights which has hurt sap production in the United States.
Warm weather has been so bad that U.S. maple syrup output has fallen by 40 percent as sugar maple trees are simply not producing enough of the product because they dry up early or produce extremely bad-tasting syrup.
Most maple syrup is produced in the Northeast US where it is gathered from February through early April, however that season was cut to a record short March season and even then some of the syrup was below quality grade.
Alfred Carrier, a sugarmaker in Glover, Vermont tells Reuters:
“You take 80 degrees (27 degrees Celsius) in March by golly it don’t help nothing. We had quite a lot of off-flavored syrup. I don’t think you’d want to put it on a pancake.”
When syrup is too bad for tasting purposes its used for flavoring chewing tobacco or put salad dressing.
U.S. production in the meantime is expected to reach 18 million pounds this year, down from 30 million pounds in 2011. That will mean higher prices for consumers, prices that are already up 5 percent this year.
Denise Marshall, a syrup distributor in Glover, Vermont points out that trees didn’t dry up produced “off” tasting product, some of which will make it too store shelves as demand likely outweighs supply.
We might love the warm weather for obvious reasons but it’s not always a good thing. In the meantime corn crop production is expected to increase in 2012 because of the weather, leading to lower costs for various food and corn based products such as ethanol and cereal.