Thursday, October 1, 2009

La Truffiere...

We have decided that we will plant a small Truffiere, or 'truffle wood', using Black Perigord truffles (Tuber melanosporum) innoculated onto the roots of English Oaks (Quercus robur) and Hazelnut (Corylus avellana). The Hazelnuts should yield truffles within 5-7 years, whereas the Oaks take longer, but then continue to yield for at least 50 years.

Black Perigord truffles, such as the one above, vary in size from the size of a pea to the size of a tennis ball, and sell for in excess of $3,600 NZ per kg! They are quite temperamental to grow, requiring a stringently alkaline soil of pH 7.9-8.1. They like friable, well aerated soil, which is to be free draining, but moist a key times. The ground needs to be sterile of other competing fungi, with the absence of many certain tree species within a 50m radious., and they like their summers hot and their winters cold.

At 10 years, the harvest produces about 20-40 kg per Ha ($40,000 to $120,000 per Ha depending on seasonal prices and yeild). We are only planting 10 trees initially, and plan to use the truffles in our own range of oils and comestibles, as well as selling small amounts to local gourmet stores.

At harvest time the truffles can be found 10-30cm below ground, and are usually smelt out by trained hounds (although they may produce patches of brownish ground around each truffle if it is just below the surface (known as Brules).

Although they are traditionally cultivated in France and Italy (mainly central and southern France and Tuscany, where there is a high predominance of limestone soils), they have successfully taken off in parts of Australia, like Tasmania, and also in parts of New Zealand. Below is a small 3 part documentary on a truffle farm in NZ, shown on a program called Country Calendar.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Harvesting is mainly with hounds in NZ, but in continental Europe, the traditional truffling pig is still used. Perhaps we should get some anyway!

There is more information about growing truffles in NZ here, and also a link to a UK website with more information here.


  1. this was interesting!i have always heard about truffles but i have never seen any!! THANK YOU FOR POSTING!

  2. this is such an amazing life... the life of truffles... growing, hunting, eating... they are magical.
    amazing post. x pam


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