This week, we move out of the dog days of summer, although cooling trends may be hard to spot in the western half of the country. Let’s just imagine some invigorating chill in the air and maple syrup-scented fall root dishes…cookies would be good, too. You know, maybe a nice Old Fashioned.

U.S. maple syrup production is estimated at 4.37 million gallons for 2020, up 25 percent from average production in 2018 and 2019, thanks to an increase in taps and yield per tap in top producer Vermont. This increase in supply will easily find a home, with more Americans cooking during the pandemic—although the difficulty in procuring glass bottles and plastic caps may cause some delays in the supply chain for retail packagers.

Even with increased domestic supply, the U.S. appetite for maple syrup is such that imports still supply about two-thirds of our consumption. This share is lower than historical levels, however, thanks to larger domestic stocks: Ten years ago, imports accounted for over 80 percent of domestic use. Canada, which produced over 13 million gallons of maple syrup last year, supplies nearly all U.S. imports, and this year’s Jan-Jun imports were up 17 percent year over year.

Maple syrup is more than pancake dressing and pastry flavor. We find it as an ingredient in snack bars and cereal, and brewers and distillers use maple syrup to craft new flavor profiles. Maple syrup also pairs well with coffee and, of course, whiskey.

Maple syrup can be processed further to produce maple sugar, which may be used in place of granulated sugar, but it is a more expensive choice. Maple sugar is sometimes found in wellness-oriented products because pure maple sweeteners contain trace levels of minerals; although maple syrup has a lower glycemic index score than sucrose, maple sugar is comparable to refined sugar in that regard. Let us know if you have any questions about this specialty ingredient, and in the meantime, don’t wait for fall to enjoy some maple flavor in your life.