Friday, March 31, 2017

A Slice of Heaven

Black gold from Santa Rosa, CA (Chron photo)
It took over 100 years for Napa and Sonoma wineries to be declared the equal of their venerable French counterparts at the "Judgment of Paris" in 1976, but North Bay orchards--some using vineyard lands--are on a much faster track to competing with another renowned French export: [bold added]
Several weeks ago...was the first successful harvest among several orchards betting on Wine Country as the world’s next great truffle-growing region.[snip]

High-quality imported fresh black truffles typically cost $800 per pound and are at their prime up to four or five days after harvest, about the time it takes to fly them from Europe or Australia
Growing truffles, like making wine, is a multi-year endeavor.
Preparing the site for your truffière requires the most labor. Remove all trees, stumps and root systems from previous growth, then test your soil. Since truffles require a soil pH of 8 to 8.3, United States growers must apply agricultural lime before planting.

Once your soil is prepared, consider irrigation. Maturing [oak and filbert] trees require about an inch of water a week. When growing truffles, you do not plant one or two trees; you plant one or two acres of trees. If watering the trees proves too labor-intensive, you will likely abandon your orchard and your investment.
For a few seconds I entertained the idea of becoming a gentleman truffle farmer, but tending to two acres of trees is too steep a price, especially without seeing any results for the better part of a decade.

Here's hoping that California truffles will be on sale at Whole Foods or Costco in the not-too-distant future. If they're under $100 a pound, I'll cut me a slice or two.

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