The record high temperatures in March resulted in maple syrup that one syrup distributor refers to as simply “yucky,” and total syrup output in the US fell as much as 40%, Reuters reports. "It was kind of a disaster," the company owner says with regard to the 2012 season. Sugar maple trees require freezing temperatures at night in order to continue producing sap, so this year many of them either dried up early or produced the aforementioned “yucky” syrup.
"You take 80 degrees in March, by golly, it don't help nothing," says a Vermont sugarmaker. "We had quite a lot of off-flavored syrup. I don't think you'd want to put it on a pancake." Typically, sugarmakers gather sap from late February to early April, but that six-week season was cut short this year. Unpalatable syrup not fit for pancakes can be used for flavoring items including chewing tobacco and salad dressing. (Read more temperature stories.)