Maple Syrup: Global Warming Casualty?

Making maple syrup requires boiling sap collected from trees. (Photo: Michael Maniezzo [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)

I will miss maple syrup.

Maple syrup is made by boiling down the sap from sugar maple trees found in the northeastern U.S. and southeast of Canada. Forty-five gallons of sap are boiled down in giant cookers to create one gallon of syrup.

When I was growing up in New Hampshire my dad ran a great little breakfast/lunch restaurant and would buy giant bottles of syrup by the case for $25/gallon (I have no idea why I remember that). These days you're lucky to find it for anything less than $60/gallon (and that's here in Maine) -- the price goes up the farther away you get from the trees.

The reason the price has risen so fast is because global warming is shortening, and in some times totally wiping out, the weather and temperature patterns needed to produce the maple sap. The sap starts running when we get cold nights and sunny warm days. Last year the maple tapping season was only a week in Quebec and many areas in New England saw little to no production.

I wonder if global warming will be real to people when they can't pour maple syrup on their pancakes. Let's hope that by then it's not too late.