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                       ‘Prue will be helping us with the truffle hunts during our first truffle season,’ says Appel. ‘She is teaching us and helping train Bella, our six month old Italian truffle dog. She’s a Lagotta Romagnolo breed.’
Appel and Phizacklea are also continuing to work with many of the local experience providers, such
as Highlands Food & Wine Experiences and The Grape Escape. ‘And we have a corporate booking with WILDfest, who are bringing Porsche here for a private event,’ says Appel.
The family has recently added a function venue near their truffle orchard for visitors, and their tours will include refreshments on arrival, an information session, a truffiere visit and truffle dog demonstration. With hopes pinned on a harvest this year of 60-80 kg, they
are also planning to plant some more oak trees, and have longer terms plans to collaborate with local dairy producers to make a truffle cheese for high end food outlets, and possibly a truffle honey to sell on site
and locally.
The cold climate, pristine environment and rich red soil around Robertson are considered ideal for these underground treasures, which have a current market value of $2800-$3500 per kg.
Appel and Phizacklea are hoping for local and overseas sales to chefs and restaurants, and are planning a trip
to France between the Australian and European truffle seasons to see how the French do it. But for now, says Appel, it’s all hands on deck getting ready for this year’s E
trivia -
+ Truffles are mysterious mushroom like fungi that grow underground.
+ They rely on the strong pungent scents of their fruits to ensure animals dig them up and spread their spores. In Australia, truffles are grown in NSW, ACT, Victoria, in the south of Western Australia and Tasmania, where the first plantations were developed in the early 1990s.
+ Truffles grow on trees whose roots have been inoculated with truffle spores and on average take five to seven years to produce.
+ Tuber melanosporum is the French Black, aka Perigord, truffle sought after by chefs. The White Truffle (Tuber magnatum) is the king of all truffles, fetching the highest prices, but is not widely available.
+ Australia is currently the fourth largest truffle producer after France, Italy and Spain.*
*Information thanks to the Australian Truffle Growers Association
+ Local farming family, the Olssons owners of Olssons Industries which produces livestock nutrition and salt feed blocks and high end gourmet sea salt products, make a fine Truffle Salt. Harvested from salt from the family’s South Australian salt pans, the Olssons are also in the process of growing truffles on their Moss Vale property. They have hopes to harvest their first crop this year.

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