The maple syrup vacuum contraption.
The maple syrup vacuum contraption.
Kent Manning

Maple syrup is one of the many foods climate change is screwing with. Mild winters make for off-flavored sap, and we’re already experiencing terrible maple syrup seasons as a result of warming.

So yeah, the sweet stuff’s already in a sticky situation, and this year’s polar vortex sent trees into a tizzy. Enter the vacuum!

According to National Geographic, maple syrup farmers are trying something new to salvage what syrup they can get. Instead of tapping the tree with a bucket to collect sweet dribblings, farmers are sticking vacuum tubes into the trees to suck the gooiness out:

The tubing links the trees together and runs to the sugar house, where the sap is collected and heated in large vats over a fire until it turns into syrup. No more horse-drawn sleighs through the woods to dump small buckets of sap into larger ones. Each tree yields more total sap per year with the new technology, without apparent harm to the tree or changing the flavor of the syrup.

Did you know one gallon of maple syrup requires 43 gallons of sap? Yeah. So the vacuum’s a big deal. There’s even an app, TapTrack, to make sure the syrup vacuum is working properly.

Now to connect the vacuum tubing to my wafflemaker …