Maple syrup production is increasingly impacted by climate change. Canada produces most of the world’s supply of maple syrup, but syrup makers in the northeastern and midwestern US also collect sap in late winter and early spring. The flow of maple sap, which is eventually boiled down to create maple syrup, hinges on alternating freezing and thawing cycles at the end of winter.  The geographic range for profitable maple syrup production is expected to shift northward in the coming years. To adapt, producers will need to tap trees earlier in the Northeast. Warmer March temperatures have already pushed tree-tapping earlier, and warmer spring and summer temperatures lower sugar content the following tapping season. Scientists predict that future sap collection will be about one month earlier than currently and that the best sap flow will be about 250 mi. (400 km) further north by 2100.
Yields of major staple crops like wheat and rice are being hurt by increasing temperatures. Wine grape production is moving to cooler climes causing changes in the character of some of our favorites. The flavors and health benefits of teas, the size of potatoes, the sting of a hot pepper, where fish call home in the oceans, and a future decline in protein in vegetables—it’s all changing.
Our food database shows the ingredients affected by a changing climate.
To learn what farmers, scientists, and many others are doing to keep the menu stocked, see Stewardship of the Land and Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods We Love and Need. You have a role, too!
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This food ingredient database is in its early phase and we will strive to expand it on an ongoing basis so that everyone is aware of how climate change is affecting the foods we love and need.