Truffle Topics: Research

This week, our good friends Xavi Vilanova and Marcos Morcillo from Micofora visited us at our home and farm. We are quite busy in the greenhouse this time of year preparing the next crop of mycorrhized seedlings, and it was great to have their extensive experience and knowledge available to us. We spent 5 days enjoying great food and company, and managed to get some work done as well.

Tom Michaels of Tennessee Truffles, LLC, joined us for a day at the North Carolina State University truffle research test orchard located at their facility in Waynesville, North Carolina. We met with Alternative Crop Extension Specialist Dr. Jeanine Davis, plant pathologist Inga Meadows, and research technicians Suzy Sharpette and Leonara Stefanile. We discussed at length soil, irrigation, pruning techniques, tree spacing, Spanish Wells, and all things related to truffle farming. The NCSU orchard produced truffles this winter for the first time. This is all rather exciting as several other orchards in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast have produced truffles for the first time this year. The industry is clearly gathering momentum in this part of the country.

During the research orchard visit, we also talked about seedling standards, and a potential seedling certification program. The program will ensure customers only plant high-quality seedlings in orchards certified through testing and analysis by third parties. These programs are already governing the industry in Europe and Australia, and will in all likelihood be a part of our future as well. It is imperative we be proactive and design standards that make the industry stronger as it matures in the coming years.

There is much excitement about the research taking place at this orchard, and it is a privilege to be a partner with NCSU as they work to unravel the mysteries of truffle production.

Pictured, left to right:
Tom Michaels, Inga Meadows, Dr. Jeanine Davis, Suzy Sharpette, Leonara Stefanile, Marcos Morcillo, and Xavi Vilanova. (I am behind the camera.)