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Maple syrup prices

Soop Jan 22, 2010 01:08 AM

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.

  1. Davwud Jan 22, 2010 02:08 AM

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


    16 Replies
    1. re: Davwud
      Soop Jan 22, 2010 02:10 AM

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

      1. re: Soop
        bushwickgirl Jan 22, 2010 03:42 AM

        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
          Soop Jan 22, 2010 04:09 AM

          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
            Davwud Jan 22, 2010 01:27 PM

            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
              Caitlin McGrath Jan 23, 2010 01:53 PM

              "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
                Davwud Jan 23, 2010 02:44 PM

                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
                  Sam Fujisaka Jan 23, 2010 02:49 PM

                  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
                    Davwud Jan 23, 2010 03:09 PM

                    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
                      Sam Fujisaka Jan 23, 2010 04:14 PM

                      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
                    Caitlin McGrath Jan 23, 2010 03:33 PM

                    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
                      Sam Fujisaka Jan 23, 2010 04:23 PM

                      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
                        Caitlin McGrath Jan 23, 2010 04:43 PM

                        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
                      Will Owen Jan 23, 2010 05:07 PM

                      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
                        Davwud Jan 23, 2010 05:49 PM


                        It's for glazes. Great on oatmeal.


                        1. re: Davwud
                          Will Owen Feb 23, 2010 10:37 AM


                          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
                          Sharuf Jan 24, 2010 12:38 AM

                          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. DockPotato Jan 22, 2010 03:57 PM

              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: DockPotato
                Soop Jan 23, 2010 01:34 AM

                A sap run?

                1. re: Soop
                  Davwud Jan 23, 2010 05:56 AM

                  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
                  Karl S Jan 23, 2010 08:01 AM

                  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. huckfinn Jan 23, 2010 03:08 PM

                  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. atheorist Feb 23, 2010 03:16 AM

                    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
                      morwen Apr 14, 2010 05:53 AM

                      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!

                    2. t
                      thinks too much Feb 23, 2010 10:47 AM

                      The last 2 winters have not been good sugaring years for the northeast. Two years ago the sap run came way early before winter socked in again. I had producers tell me that they produced only about 75% of their normal crop or less. Last year wasn't as severe, but not much better. It's all about supply and demand.

                      Here's hoping for a good run this year.

                      1. Soop Apr 10, 2010 02:33 AM

                        any news yet?

                        1. Soop Apr 13, 2010 03:44 AM


                          1. m
                            MGC Apr 13, 2010 04:51 AM

                            I buy my maple syrup from a friend of my parents' in NW Pennsylvania. This year they managed to get ONLY one day of sap because of the warm weather -- they ended up with 5 gallons total production for the year. Apparently a couple of producers managed to get their taps out in January and got part of a normal run there (which seems early to me), but due to deep snow, a lot of people couldn't get to the trees to tap. Production was way down this year.

                            On the good side, I paid the same for my two gallons this year as last - $30 / gallon. I'll be out of it by next season. It was really nice of the woman to not jack up the price because of the scarcity of it.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: MGC
                              Soop Apr 13, 2010 05:07 AM

                              Unfortunately the UK's already high price is increased slightly. I'll be paying £1.66 per 100g (don't know why it's by weight), which is multiple times what you'd pay if I'm thinking right.

                              1. re: Soop
                                DockPotato Apr 13, 2010 02:46 PM

                                At the height of the run I paid $10C for 500ml


                                I have no idea what others were paying here.

                                As per your last post the run ended abruptly here in Central Ontario as well due to an unusually mild winter. The winter also brought very little precipitation - instead of 30+ feet of snow I doubt we saw more than 4 feet. I understand that this also greatly affected sap yield. I suggest that you suffer "your "slight increase" while you can.

                                In hindsight we should have bought a bit more.

                                1. re: DockPotato
                                  Sam Salmon Apr 13, 2010 09:06 PM

                                  "instead of 30+ feet of snow I doubt we saw more than 4 feet. "

                                  I grew up in Northern Ontario and would like to know where exactly it snows 30 feet a year!

                            2. p
                              PadmeSkywalker Apr 14, 2010 10:21 AM

                              I live in Montreal, Quebec so you think prices would be cheaper here but they've been high for a few years. Last year it was 10 bucks for 500ml. This year it is down to 8$. I actually get mine at Costco, it is local maple syrup, 1 liter for 14 dollars if I recall correctly.

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