If your sweet tooth started to ache at the idea of a $12 chocolate bar, you might want to skip this one. Looming shortages of both honey and maple syrup may be on the horizon, so get your sticky sweets now.
Grocery store shelves harbor imposters, and a closer look at their labels show they’re not 100 percent honey as one might expect from the bear-shaped squeeze bottle. Many of the fakes are cheaper alternatives like agave- and xylitol-based honey substitutes and syrups that contain only about 10 percent real honey, according to the trade group.
Changes in temperature and seasons are also impacting maple syrup production, especially on the southern-most edges of production, like the Catskills, where production was down 80 percent in the 2010 season, according to the Watershed Post:
Sugar producers in the Catskills are collecting under a quarter of the sap that they usually do at this time of year, says Helen Thomas, the executive director of the New York State Maple Producers Association. Production is down across the board in the warmer parts of New York, she adds, including at her own Syracuse farm. But the Catskills are seeing the most dramatic sap shortage.
The shortage of sap might also come from a boom of forest tent caterpillars, gypsy moth caterpillars, and other maple pests in the area, which eat leaves and can kill the trees. Sugar houses are hopeful that yield will increase in the 2011 season, but I wouldn't bet my pancakes on it.