Canada Taps Maple Syrup Stocks To Cope With Massive Shortage: NPR

Producers plan to harness 7 million more maples to meet syrup demand.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP


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Producers plan to harness 7 million more maples to meet syrup demand.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

While high gas prices have pushed President Biden to tap into America’s strategic oil reserves, the United States’ North American neighbor is also grappling with a shortage of another so-called “liquid gold.”

Canadian group Quebec Maple Syrup Producers recently announced that it was releasing around 50 million pounds from its strategic maple syrup reserves, about half of total stocks.

Quebec produces almost 70% of the world’s maple syrup, with the United States being its largest customer for sweet products. However, this year growers were unable to keep up with global demand, which rose 21%, according to Bloomberg.

Maple syrup is made from the sap of maples, which is traditionally harvested by installing a metal tap in the tree’s trunk. Modern sap collection generally involves a system of plastic tubes and vacuums to collect the sap from various trees to a central location where it can be refined into syrup.

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A drop of fresh sap falls from a tap on a maple tree.

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A drop of fresh sap falls from a tap on a maple tree.

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However, this is a seasonal process, as maple sap can only be harvested under specific weather conditions. So this year’s short, warm spring resulted in an unusually low yield for growers.

“That’s why the reservation is made, so you never miss the maple syrup. And we won’t miss the maple syrup!” said Helene Normandin, communications director for Quebec maple syrup producers.

While it is difficult to predict what next year’s harvest will look like, Normandin said they were already planning for the future.

“What we can calculate at the moment is that maybe the season here in Quebec will start a little earlier in February, instead of March, and it will end earlier as well,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Quebec’s maple syrup reserve has made headlines. In 2012, more than 3,000 tons of maple syrup were stolen from stocks over the course of months. The value of the robbery was estimated at nearly C $ 19 million.

Maple syrup producers in Quebec will harvest 7 million more trees in the near future to replenish their reserves and ensure they can meet demand next year.

So go ahead, top off those pancakes and waffles with Canadian Liquid Gold this holiday weekend.

The audio version of this story was produced by Gustavo Contreras and edited by Jonaki Mehta.

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