What do truffles mean? by Rowan Jacobsen

For centuries, truffles have been marketed as the ultimate luxury food, a precious morsel to be had in fancy restaurants. While this has kept their perceived value high, it has also made them off-putting to many consumers, and has prevented them from being widely embraced in many cultures. Americans know very little about truffles, and are intimidated from trying to learn more. This is a missed opportunity, because truffles are perfectly positioned to appeal to changing American tastes. They are powerful, exotic, mysterious, and excellent representatives of the landscapes in which they grow. They also speak to Americans’ growing interest in the flavors of the natural world. Rowan Jacobsen has spent the past two years visiting truffle hunters and truffle farms in half a dozen countries, and he presents his thoughts on what truffles mean to different cultures, and how they might be freed from their staid luxury prison in the United States and repositioned as a dynamic 21st-century ingredient.

Watering, mulching and shadowing in Tuber melanosporum and Tuber aestivum orchards by Dr. Claude Murat

The objective of my presentation is to illustrate several researches on truffle life cycle and truffle cultivation developed in France. I will briefly present our knowledge on the sexual reproduction of the black truffle and then I will highlight the main results of the national research program CulturTruf. In this project we have experimented with watering truffle beds by monitoring the soil water potential (SWP) and have shown that this improves truffle production. I will show how we have developed an innovation (pF Tracer) allowing truffle growers to equip themselves with probes to follow the pF. Finally, I will present our latest remarkable results on the culture of the white truffle Tuber magnatum.

Tuber brumale and other mycorrhizal fungi that may fruit in our truffle orchards by Dr. Christine Fischer

By establishing black truffle orchards, we are introducing a new fungus to our soils and inevitably there will be shifts in the community of soil organisms in the rhizosphere activities belowground, not just Tuber melanosporum. Sometimes our first awareness comes with the appearance of fruitbodies of other fungi such as Tuber brumale, a winter truffle that can be particularly problematic. In this webinar I would like to present some history and approaches to the questions regarding management of T. brumale and other fungi such as Scleroderma sp. and Pisolithus sp. and T. lyonii often co-existing in T. melanosporum habitat.

2020 NATGA Annual Meeting – Recording

Recordings of the 2020 Annual meeting that was held virtually because of COVID-19 pandemic.
Alyce Chapman – Let’s Improve Your Truffle Farm’s Tax Situation
Marcos Morcillo – The role of Soil Bacteria and a Case Study of Spanish Wells and Irrigation
Brian Malone – Truffle Cultivation
Dr. Shannon Berch – Update on the Truffle Cultivation Database Project and associated Survey
NATGA Business Meeting

Industry Integrity, Truffle Grading, Coop and Collective Development, and How to Managing an Aging Orchard by Olivia Martin-Taylor

The burgeoning truffle industry in North America has the unique opportunity to establish standards that ensure the highest levels of product quality and measures to ensure industrial integrity. To address industry and product integrity we can take simple actions at different points in the cultivation process. The industry can take steps to prevent contaminant truffle species from entering the market. These steps include setting industry seedling standards and a comprehensive system of truffle grading.

Testing your trees for colonization: The Why’s & How’s by Inga Meadows

Truffle farming can be a rewarding experience when truffles are found, but the years between planting your seedlings and before your first harvest can keep you on the edge of your seat! You can take some of the guesswork out of it by having your roots examined for the mycorrhizal association of interest. This webinar will give you an understanding of why and how to have your trees tested, how we do the various tests in the lab, and which truffle fungi we can detect.

Truffle sex & what that means for orchard management & productivity by Shannon Berch

In this presentation, Dr. Sannon Berch reviews four scientific publications (see below) that are available for free download or on the NATGA web site under Resources, Papers. Although it is Shannon’s goal to make the science reasonably accessible for non-scientists, she is explaining biological and mycological phenomena and exploring hypothetical scenarios. The paper by Le Tacon et al. (2016) provides an explanation of what is known and still unknown about how truffle fungi reproduce. Since the end result of this reproduction is the truffle, it is important that truffle growers understand the basics. The paper by Garcia-Barreda et al. (2020) examines how soil and season affect truffle traits like weight and maturity, how the installation of ‘nests’ or ‘Spanish wells’ alters these responses, and how truffle traits and responses to nest installation differ in different soil types. Making sure there is genetic diversity in the truffle orchard through the application of spores (nests or Spanish wells) could be key to enhancing productivity but under what conditions? The paper by Iotti et al. (2016) explores how inoculation of seedlings in the nursery with mycelium rather than spores might permit the selection of truffle strains with superior characteristics. Only Tuber borchii at present lends itself to this kind of strain selection since it is much easier than most other Tuber species to grow in pure culture. We hope that by the end of this webinar, participants will have a better understanding of how truffles are produced and, using this understanding, be better able to evaluate possible future alterations to how truffles are cultivated.

The need for proper edible mycorrhizal fungi (EMF) cultivation trials: How plantation management impacts yields by Dr. Alexis Guerin

Knowing how plantation management affects the yield of edible mycorrhizal fungi (EMF) is both a new and complex issue. We are virtually inexperienced compared to most other horticultural sectors. EMF production also relies on the symbiotic interaction with host trees. The variable success obtained with truffle cultivation worldwide speaks for itself: a true cultivation remains to be invented. The current lack of knowledge is also a great research opportunity: so much can be learned if only we invest in it. Since no research work has yet addressed this question on truffles, I will present the monitoring of the yield of a mycorrhizal mushroom: saffron milk cap.

Understanding Basic Principles for Black Truffle Cultivation by Christine Fischer

This introductory NATGA webinar will provide a foundation to the science and ecology of Tuber melanosporum. With this knowledge and understanding we are better prepared to evaluate and make decisions for the establishment and management of a Black Truffle orchard from the onset of the inclination to be a truffle farmer through the realization of that dream. A strong foundation helps to inform good practices.