Here's Why Your Ube Jam Is Ube No More

The changing climate might be to blame.

( Few things in life are constant: EDSA traffic, your crush not texting back, and ube Jam being purple—until now. Good Shepherd, a popular brand of the delicacy, has recently shared that they will be offering white ube jam due to the difficulty of sourcing the usual purple ones. And while the white variant reportedly tastes just as good, it been difficult to wrap our heads around the concept of "white ube jam," (it's in the name, after all!). 

"Our ube farmers are having difficulty growing ube," shared Good Shepherd on their Facebook page, which led to them having to resort to white yam for production of the jam. They added that the difficulty was, "due to a changing climate."


If you're wondering why purple yam has been difficult to grow, one group found two possibilities. According to Project GuHEAT (short for Geospatial Assessment and Modelling of Urban Heat Islands in Philippine Cities), purple yam is highly susceptible to any change in temperature and exposure to sunlight, two factors which may have affected ube farms in Baguio City. 

First, they compared the average temperature of Baguio City in 1979 to the current 2019 records and found that it climbed around two degrees higher. They did mention that purple yams are also sourced from farms outside of Baguio City. 

The second possibility has to do with the fact that well, there is just less vegetation in the city. "Lesser trees and removal of coexisting vegetation that provides natural shade may contribute to less yam production," they said in their post. Either way, the fact that farmers are now struggling to grow purple yams—which used to grow well and without problems—marks a change we should all be aware of, and, ideally, react to. 

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Project GuHEAT is an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology that intends to study the rapidly heating areas of urban dwellings. They aim to bring awareness to this problem and ideally find ways to minimize, and maybe even lessen, its effects.

Main image from Good Sheperd Facebook Page and ChrisAd85/Pixabay.

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