Long, bitter winter could leave maple syrup in short supply

Maple syrup on pancakes

Bad news for pancakes and waffles lovers: this year’s Canadian-made maple syrup could be in short supply.

As temperatures in Quebec continue to hover below freezing, it may be too late for the province’s maple syrup producers to recoup the losses from a long, cold winter.

In Quebec, where three-quarters of the world’s sweet stuff is made, maple syrup season begins around mid-March and wraps up in April. For best yields, temperatures need to be around -5°C at night and around 5°C during the day, which helps the sap flow.

But with temperatures still in the negatives during the day, producers like Richard Lessard, the owner of the Maple du Lac-Beauport sugar shack, are worried the shortened sugaring off season will be disastrous for the Canadian industry.

“Until the season’s over we can’t say for sure, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a bad season,” said Lessard in an interview with QMI Agency.

Frederic Landry, owner of the Landry sugar shack, is worried too.

“It’s getting stressful and what I don’t like is that this year, the weather warmed up and got cold again,” Landry said in an interview with QMI Agency. “That’s not good, because the maple buds come out and gives a taste to the syrup and there’s nothing you can do about that.”

Landry says he also concerned that the American maple syrup market might profit off the lower than usual yields. Currently, Vermont is the largest producer in the United States and is responsible for around 5 percent of the global supply.

Meanwhile in Ontario, some producers think the cold temperatures could actually be beneficial.

“Sometimes we have to work a little harder to get a sweet reward,” Fred Martin, a producer in West Montrose, Ontario, told The Weather Network. “I have found in the past that maple syrup harvested slowly can be sweeter and taste better.”

“People may think prices will change if the weather does not corporate, Martin continued. “However I like to give people maple syrup for an affordable price.”

And if all else fails, Martin has syrup from previous years to offset a small supply. So don’t fret just yet, maple syrup lovers.