Terrific truffle treasure trove: Gaye looking forward to season's haul

FASCINATING FUNGUS: Gaye Stuart-Nairne with truffles pulled from underneath her 20-year-old oaks at Borodell. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 
0713sgtruffles

FASCINATING FUNGUS: Gaye Stuart-Nairne with truffles pulled from underneath her 20-year-old oaks at Borodell. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0713sgtruffles

GAYE Stuart-Nairne is beside herself with excitement at the prospect of a 12 kilogram truffle yield this season. 

After only two “hunts”, 10 kilograms of the fungus has been unearthed by truffler Teneka Priestly and her pound puppy Bailey at Mrs Stuart-Narnie’s Borodell property. 

It is a record for the property with average yields of about eight kilograms each season, which generally only runs for the month of July.

The truffle producing oaks were planted on the property 20 years ago but had only been producing the fungus for about 10 years. 

“It’s fantastic,” Mrs Stuart-Nairne said. 

The coveted truffle sells for around $3000 per kilo retail and was so priced because of the relatively short harvest season, the difficulty of finding the fungus and the difficultly of growing it. 

Australia is the fourth largest truffle producer but truffle experts predict a boom as trees planted up to eight years ago are coming into maturity. 

With yields like Mrs Stuart-Nairne’s it is no wonder why producers were giving France, Italy and Spain a run for their money. 

Truffles that weighed up to 500 grams were pulled from the ground at Borodell but they were still a far cry from the record 1.17 kg specimen dug up in the Southern Highlands last month. 

“The total Australian crop isn’t really that big yet,” Mrs Stuart-Nairne said.

“Truffle producers really should band together then we can start exporting overseas.”

Fast facts

Truffles are used in fine dining around the world and considered a delicacy in European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.

 They are the fruiting body of a subterranean fungus that grows as the result of a symbiotic relationship with the roots of trees

White truffles are more expensive than black truffles and the average price is around $3000 per kilogram. 

Specially trained dogs and pigs hunt for the fungus in the “dead patch” of grass underneath oak trees. 

Because of their high price and their pungent taste, truffles are used sparingly. 

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