We’ve known for a while that climate change will threaten supplies of our favorite foods, like wine and bourbon. (Oh, and bacon, coffee, chocolate, oysters, and pecan pie.) But the optimists among us took this news with good humor. “Oh sure, our favorite foods and intoxicants might be a little scarcer,” these imaginary chirpy little shits said, “but that will make every mouthful more precious.” Well, not when it comes to maple syrup, sucker! Climate change isn’t just making it scarcer — it’s making it taste way worse.
The mild winter played hell with maple syrup production, and a lot of what was produced is only good for off-the-table uses like flavoring chewing tobacco. U.S. production dropped from 30 million pounds of syrup to 18 million pounds of yucky goo.
“You take 80 degrees in March by golly it don’t help nothing,” said Alfred Carrier, a sugarmaker in Glover, Vt. “We had quite a lot of off-flavored syrup. I don’t think you’d want to put it on a pancake.”
You said it, Alfred. By golly.
Prices on syrup actually won’t jump too much this year, because Quebec laid in a strategic syrup reserve when yields were high. And this winter could be cold, putting production back on track — but I wouldn’t count on that forever. It’s probably time to start looking into other pancake toppings, ones that will get more plentiful as we hurtle towards destruction. Maybe the salty tears of endangered pandas.