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Jan 22, 2010 01:08 AM

Maple syrup prices

I've noticed a lot of supermarkets still selling maple syrup for £5 for 330ml.

Now I know last year and perhaps before that, there were some kind of difficulties with production - is it the same this year, or having hiked the prices are supermarkets just trying to rip us off?

This is in England in Waitrose and Marks and Spencer. Sainsbury's is about £3.30, which still isn't cheap.

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  1. Not maple syrup season yet so we don't know.


    16 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      Ah right. Probably left over from last year then. When is maple syrup season? I hope it's before pankcake day >___>

      1. re: Soop

        In a nutshell, sugaring starts in late February or early March in Vermont, NH and Maine, maybe even earlier, depends on the weather. Warm days, cold nights gets the sap flowing. I used to get my taps in in CT, on average, in mid- to late Feb, 40*F-+ during the day, below freezing at night. The season is over at the end of March, again depending on the weather. 75 to 80% of maple syrup is produced in Canada, Quebec area, but I know nothing of their season.
        When/what is pancake day?

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          Ah 16th February this year. Apparantly it's the same day as Mardi Gras.

          So it looks like we may not have the new maple syrup in time. I hope to hell it's a good year AND that the supermarkets price fairly. I'll try and remember to check nearer the time.

          1. re: Soop

            Ah, Pancake Tuesday. Right.

            I'd say that in Quebec the season runs from early to mid March to mid April depending on the weather.

            FWIW, I live in Toronto and about a 45 minute drive N/W of the city they have the worlds largest maple syrup festival an it's usually the first weekend of April.
            Not this year though



            1. re: Soop

              "Ah 16th February this year. Apparantly it's the same day as Mardi Gras."

              "Pancake Tuesday" = Fat Tuesday = Mardi Gras (which = "Fat Tuesday" in French). The whole point of pancakes that day is that Mardi Gras is about stuffing yourself with rich foods the day before Lent begins, as you will be required to deny yourself rich foods for the next 40 days. So Pancake Tuesday will never not coincide with Mardi Gras; it IS Mardi Gras.

              Apologies if your post was intended as irony, Soop; this explanation was intended in the event it was not.

              Also, in my experience, when maple syrup prices are raised due to scarcity, they don't go back down. I assume retailers think that we've adjusted to the new price, so why shrink it. Similarly, my mother relates that in the '50s, Log Cabin (American brand of pancake syrup) reduced its maple syrup content from 50% to 2% because of crop-induced scarcity. Presumably, supply didn't remain restricted, but LC certainly did not ever raise the maple content in its syrup again.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Having been raised on the real McCoy, I can't for the life of me understand how someone can use pancake (table) syrup.
                But to each his/her own I guess.


                1. re: Davwud

                  You would continue with the Real McCoy where a little bottle costs $30? If so please come on down here. I'll make the pancakes; you bring the syrup!

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    I'd import it Sam. We bring care packages back (Toronto) from my inlaws (Alabama) every trip. No reason why we couldn't.

                    You want I should send you some??


                    1. re: Davwud

                      Thank you! I still have a (my last) can of maple syrup from Vermont.

                      Exactly! I leave Colombia with a mostly empty large suitcase and come back packed with foods. My grocery list from around the globe is long. Good in that sense that I've had to travel so much. But most people do not and are stuck with local prices and availability.

                  2. re: Davwud

                    No kidding. I was also raised on the real McCoy, and I cannot stand pancake syrup such as LC. If I am in a restaurant that does not serve real maple, I will simply order eggs unless the pancakes have fruit or something else that is enough on its own. In diners and coffee shops, I have simply spread jam on my pancakes or French toast, and frankly, were I in Sam's position, I'd do that, or make homemade fruit syrups. It's hard to imagine learning to like the other, at least for me. Sam, you don't haul bottles of maple syrup home from DC along with masa harina and Calrose-style japonica, I take it?

                    My mother tells me her parents bought 50% maple LC when she was a child for economic reasons; after the drop in maple syrup percentage, the began mixing it and pure maple half and half themselves.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      I was just giving Davwud a hard time for the fun of it.

                      Actually, I couldn't agree more as to homemade fruit concoctions over LC in the absence of the real stuff. I make a lot of fruit compotes. My latest is just passion fruit pulp, seeds included, cooked with brown sugar and cinnamon (and maybe a shot of good rum). Simple and really good. Tomorrow (Sunday) I'm going to make a tamarind syrup.

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        Your passionfruit compote sounds delicious; of course, here in Northern California, maple syrup is about a gazillion times more affordable than passionfruits. All of us with varied tastes win and lose based on where we live because, as you note above, we're mostly stuck with local prices and availability. Were I in your shoes WRT maple syrup, I'm sure I'd find the flavor that much sweeter (not meant literally, but pun fully intended).

                    2. re: Davwud

                      Having been raised mostly in dire poverty, we didn't even have Log Cabin; Mom would make simple syrup with brown sugar and then add maple flavoring. The upside was she made the pancakes from scratch, as Aunt Jemima's was a pricey luxury, too. I now keep a bottle of Grade B from Trader Joe's on hand for my infrequent flapjack or waffle extravaganzas.

                      1. re: Will Owen


                        It's for glazes. Great on oatmeal.


                        1. re: Davwud


                          It's for anything. I have no real use for Grade A, finding it as insipid as Karo but much more expensive. Hard to find here in CA anyway. Yes, yes, yes on the oatmeal...

                        2. re: Will Owen

                          My Mom would make quince syrup - the best! Also, she would sometimes make a syrup with carmelized sugar as the flavoring and karo as the base.

            2. In Southern Ontario we experienced an erratic spring in terms of temperatures and their durations. Sap production was down and local producers were stymied. Also, I was told by my supplier that sugar content was down. In short it was not a good year here and I assume the same held true for the US.

              This winter also promises to be mild although we have not reached the second weekend of February which determines our weather through to near end of March.

              Given recent weather reports, what are the possibilities of a sap run in Britain?

              3 Replies
                1. re: Soop

                  IF, you have sugar maples in Britain, given the weather this year, is it possible they'd start producing sap is what Dock is asking. I think.


                2. re: DockPotato

                  Sugar maples need cold winters (they are among the many plants that thrive with cold winters and mild summers, like peonies and lilacs); the UK does not have the kind of cold winters that we have in the northern Great Lakes, St Lawrence Valley and New England regions that are the heartland of sugar maples in North America. The gradual shortening of winter in the US Northeast is causing sugar maples in the flatlands to fade out, eventually leaving the maples in uplands, and may cause the US maple sugar industry to fade out as well.

                3. No answer yet to the question of price, but last season's Vermont grade B runs about $18US/ quart, which is 3.9BP per 330ml.

                  1. The original comment has been removed
                    1. When I look at all the firewood syrup producers burn, I wonder if they would not make out as well just selling firewood and skipping the syrup hassle. I am glad they don't. It looks like a labor of love.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: atheorist

                        Most syrup producers in the VA Highlands don't use wood-fired evaporators anymore. They use electric or oil-fired evaporators although many were running the wood evaporators for the tourists during the festival. I only saw two that claimed to use wood exclusively in their evaporation process when I was there last month for the Highlands Maple Festival. Syrup prices were varied at the different camps I went to and in Monterey, where the festival was centered they were highest. I found syrup at Rexrode's Sugar Orchard for $48/gal. I brought home two gallons. While the festival was very nice and the trout dinner the McDowell Volunteer Fire Company put on was superb, in the future I will travel to the Highlands for my syrup supply any weekend but festival weekends. The crowds were overwhelming!