Tour of the soon to be opening Trader Joe's grocery store in Portland. The new store is located on Marginal Way in Portland. (Photo by John Ewing/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
The Fan Favorite Trader Joe's Ice Cream That Comes Back Year After Year
By Alli Neal
Since 2019, Ube season at Trader Joe's has traditionally kicked off in April or May. The brand sells Ube Pretzels, Ube Tea Cookies, Ube Mochi Pancakes, and famously, Ube Ice Cream.
Though Trader Joe's website doesn't list either the ice cream or the mochi ice cream as available yet, it's promising its return and hoping the stock will last through mid-summer.
Ube is a yam native to Asia that is most commonly bright purple. It's a tuber like potatoes and sweet potatoes, but it grows on an above-ground vine.
Before commercialization, ube was considered sacred to the Bohol province of the Philippines. Legend has it that when famine struck, ube was the only food source.
Beyond historical importance, ube is also loved for its flavor: vanilla and pistachio with a hint of coconut. It's taken the U.S. by storm, from fluffy pandesal rolls to halo halo.
Unfortunately, ube production is waning. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, ube production fell from 30,074 metric tons in 2006 to 13,957 metric tons in 2020.
Severe weather due to climate change is heavily to blame for this deficit, as conditions are too waterlogged some years, but the drought is too serious in other years.
Because it uses real ube in its treats, Trader Joe's stock is very limited. Its website states, “We have limited supply — hopefully enough to get us to mid-summer.”