A sticky heist in Quebec

The strategic maple reserve near Quebec City. Photo: Simon Trepanier

The crucial news out of Quebec this week will be the provincial election there on Tuesday. Prior to that, though comes this newsflash of real regional interest: persons unknown have made away with a large portion of Quebec’s strategic maple syrup reserve! To be specific, that’s the global strategic maple syrup reserve – as created by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.

My husband tipped me to this by email on Friday. (Thanks dear! Good eye!) But I’m actually trying to step away from the keyboard for the next few weeks and spend more so-called quality time with my visiting mother.

On Friday, Mom and I spent the whole day enjoying the Van Gogh Up Close exhibit at the National Gallery. (And excellent show, by the way, but closing by the end of the holiday weekend.) I was trying to ignore the syrup story, but I can’t, I just can’t! A quick blog then, and it’ll be back to family vacation time.

Reportedly, about 10 million pounds of syrup was stored at a St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse, with a value of more than $30-million. (The containers were left in place, but the contents were drained from some pf the steel barrels. Clever!) Media reports state this theft occurred at temporary warehouse, not the permanent reserve site.

How much was taken? That’s still being checked, but investigators say the loss is in the millions. While the contents were insured, there’s concern about what an unexpected flood of syrup could do to supply and prices.

Why does Quebec have a maple syrup reserve anyway? Well, it’s a smart move for an important industry – not just the set-up for inevitable jokes.

Writing in The Atlantic, Jordan Weissmann offers more details on that, including a great chart on US and Canadian production levels from 1860-2010. (Canada has pulled ahead – way ahead – if anyone is keeping track.)

It is to be hoped that the hard-working, honest syrup producers across this region are not undercut by this potential market disruption. After all, as press as far afield as theĀ  BBC reports, Quebec alone produces three-quarters of the world supply of maple syrup.

While acknowledging that this can hurt real people, I know the very idea of a syrup heist demands puns, wise cracks and images of pancake breakfast debaucheries.

Anyone want to start?


Webmaster extraordinaire Dale Hobson reminds me thatĀ David Sommerstein did a feature on this topic in April of 2011.

Yes indeed! When it comes to local food: we care and we’re there!

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1 Comment on “A sticky heist in Quebec”

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  1. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    It is part of a new ELF plot to save the trees. They are diluting it 30-1 with water and pumping it back into trees that appear to be under stress. Also, it is being used to combat emerald ash borers by flushing the trees with “sap”. Preliminary results appear to be promising except for a few trees that exploded. The Mounties are working in close coordination with the FBI searching for these dangerous radicals.

    Canadian officials are working to guard the rest of their reserve because of rumors ELF is planning to try maple syrup as flame retardant in western wildfires while government scientists are working on a new maple syrup powered automobile, the Loony Coup.

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