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A rare and expensive fungus is being grown locally

truffle .jpg
Posted at 7:02 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 00:13:00-05

A rare and expensive fungus is being grown locally on a 10-acre piece of land covered with 2,200 holly oak trees.

But the fungi are not visible above ground. In order to find them, you need a special navigator.

“So the truffles are underground so you can’t see them. The dogs on the truffle orchards will smell the truffle, they’ll go to it, they’ll indicate by either tapping their foot on it or digging a little bit, or putting their nose on it and that’s how we know a truffle is there," explained Alana McGee, owner of Truffle Dog Company.

When you think of black winter truffles you may think of southern France, but now they're growing in Templeton.

“Let’s take a leap of faith and try it," said Denise Farrell, owner of Caelesta Winery.

Brian and Denise Farrell knew it would take patience and hard work to cultivate this crop.

“We planted the trees in 2015, and we’re learning that their normal cycle is about six to ten years. It’s been almost exactly six years. To get this size truffles this quickly is so exciting," said Brian Farrell.

Time isn’t the only obstacle when growing these fungi. The black winter truffle is known to be rare because of how much attention needs to go into growing them.

“High PH, irrigation, and keeping the invasive rodents and other things out of the truffle orchard," Farrell explained.

Six years later, that leap of faith the Farrell family took was worth it.

“We found these four today. Who knows how many more we’ll find. In restaurants there is a high demand of about $1,000 a pound," Farrell said.

The Farrells say now that they are starting to see truffles grow, their end goal would be to begin selling them.