It’s maple news time! The theme of this month’s maple news roundup: change. As much as the sweet taste of maple syrup stays the same, the maple industry and the larger food industry around it changes. Several changes in maple were evident this month.
Changes in maple include the continued incorporation of our favorite flavor into more and more consumer food and drinks. Recently out of New Orleans, a Creole Maple Hotsauce. (Sounds great! There’s just enough time to pick some up for the holidays online at Heartbeat Hotsauce Co. See you there.) In Starbucks’s national tastemaking, along with the Cozy Cardigan Macciato and the Mushroom Hunter’s Mocha, there’s the Falling Maple Leaves Latte: espresso, steamed milk, and a shot of Vermont maple syrup. (Yes.) From Rhode Island, Sons of Liberty has launched a line of flavored whiskeys: coffee, honey, apple and maple. Not to be outdone, Hello Fresh is offering a Buddy the Elf Spaghetti Kit featuring “Colavita spaghetti, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, marshmallows, chocolate nonpareil candies, frosted chocolate pastries, and chocolate-flavored rice cereal”. At $14.99, can the maple syrup in the kit be real? You tell us. (Surprising nobody, the maple syrup at Cracker Barrel is not real.) Finally, there’s maple for a cause: enter the OPIR Ukranian Strong Stout by True North Ale Company out of Massachusetts. Says True North of the maple-noted ale: “A portion of the proceeds of each sale will go to World Central Kitchen to support its good work in feeding those affected by the war in Ukraine.”
You could say that another change in maple has been an opening up of the market for other syrups. In this news this month for the first time since we’ve been paying attention are hickory syrup and DIY apple cider syrup.
Changes in the maple industry largely revolve around climate change. Not only did maple syrup join tomato soup as a weapon in the civilan war for climate action, but the Nova Scotian maple industry was reportedly devastated by hurricaine/tropical storm Fiona. This news comes against the larger background story of the ways in which maple sugar makers are adapting to this increase in erratic weather. Adaptation is only part of the story; the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers is taking a leadership role in the fight against climate change. Having met their 2018 emissions goals, the industry group intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2030 (over 2020 levels). In a province where people eat maple syrup, on average, 7.8 times a month, this is a big deal. Go, Quebec! Here in the states, students at the University of Rochester have invented award-winning tools and equipment to reduce waste in the maple industry: it is estimated that for every 20 gallons of maple syrup produced, 1 is wasted. Also change to the good!
And finally, a bit of fluff. Among the 12 out of 13 Canadian history facts that were not about maple syrup, the following: (1) the origins of poutine are a mystery, (2) the Canadian Mountees were created to deal with American bootleggers, and (3) there is a region in Canada that has slightly less gravity than other places. Who knew!