|Black gold from Santa Rosa, CA (Chron photo)|
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]Growing truffles, like making wine, is a multi-year endeavor.
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
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.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.
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.
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.