Dibulla Bavoso Yam

Ark of taste
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The Bavoso yam (so named because of the paste that comes out when the yam is cut) is a climbing plant with trunks that roll back on themselves and which can reach up to three meters tall. The green leaves have smooth borders, and when they are young there are red blotches of anthocyanin. The yam’s flowers are light white or grey and quite subtle. This plant produces tubers that grow from the leaves and range in color from light to dark brown. They are cylindrical and can vary between five to ten kg. while the pulp is white, smooth, mealy, and soft.   It is believed that yams were brought to America as a by-product of the slave trade that existed between the Spanish and Portuguese in the 14th century, especially considering the fact that yams were an essential part of the slaves’ diets. They also represented one of the main cultivations near the gold mines, which were used to feed the slaves while they worked.   The principle market for this product is Riohacha, and over time it reached the much larger market in the next town over, Santa Marta. In the Caribbean region of Colombia, the dishes made from yams vary from desserts to hearty meals, from the traditional mote de queso (cheese dip) to the dulce de de ñame, which is prepared with cinnamon, milk, and coconut flour; today this dessert is commonly prepared during Easter week.   In the Caribbean region, Bolivar is the department that produces the most yams. The migratory influxes have taken this cultivation out of its initial home of Corregimiento di Mingueo, an area in Dibulla. In the La Guajita region there are currently 150 hectares of land cultivated with yams, for a yearly production of 1,440 tons. However, there are no exact data on the production of Bavoso yams.   This product is ever scarcer on the market due to a disease known as anthracnose, which between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s caused the loss of much cultivation. The solution chosen was to introduce Hawthorne yams, which are more resistant to the disease. Furthermore, the farmers are leaving this cultivation behind, preferring instead smaller and less delicate yam varieties.  

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