Bad news for pancake and waffle lovers. On the heels of unusually warm weather in February and March, the maple syrup industry has announced a looming shortage.
Farmers in Pennsylvania say the warm weather has caused tree sap to flow earlier than normal. Although a spate of warm weather isn’t necessarily a death sentence for maple syrup, there could be a serious issue unless things cool down quickly.
The ideal formula for continually-flowing sap is below-freezing nights and warmer days, but recent evenings just have not gotten cold enough. This is the second year in a row that sap has flowed as early as January for farmers.
“For the sap to keep running we need warm days followed by cold nights, below freezing, to drive the sap down and keep the trees from budding,” Don Hess, a maple syrup producer at Duck’s Maple Farm in Pennsylvania’s Fayette County, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“If it doesn’t get cold again, I’m done.”
If cold weather doesn’t return, sap collection season could end unusually early. The effects of any shortage could trickle down to consumers, especially considering demand for maple syrup has gone up over the past decade.