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      MARGARET Townsend

        I thought folks might enjoys seeing our recent interview on local news station, WBKO.  Luca, of course, stole the show.  I’m not sure why I even show up!

        Newtown Truffiere grows rare truffles in Scottsville
        Scottsville is home to one of the nation’s largest truffle farms, Newtown Truffiere.
        By Derek Parham
        Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:33 PM CDT

        BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -Tucked into the woods of Allen County, Margaret Townsend, a former tech executive turned truffle farmer, owns and operates one of the largest truffle orchards in the United States.

        The operation began slowly, with oak and hazelnut seedlings being planted across 25 acres on Townsend’s property. It would be years before she began to see any of the prized culinary fungi.

        “At about year eight and nine, we started to see our first truffles. Now, we’re starting to see quantities and the quality is getting better. The truffles are growing deeper in the ground, and so now we’re really starting to move from viability to production,” said Townsend.

        Townsend now inoculates her trees with two species of truffle; the Perigord Black Truffle, native to France, and the Commonwealth’s own native Kentucky Winter White truffle. The truffles grow from the roots of the trees across the property, a process that benefits both the fungus and the trees.

        “It’s truly symbiotic, and so the truffles receive the sugars from the trees, and the trees receive amplified nutrients and water capability from the soil,” said Townsend.

        With the help of her truffle-hunting dog, Luca, the truffles are harvested from the tree’s underground roots once they are ripe, typically from December to March.

        Townsend said, “Luca is a LaGotto Romagnolo, and LaGottos are the traditional truffle dog of Italy, they were originally bred for hunting.”

        Using his hunting activation word, ‘Golfballs,’ Luca has become one of the nation’s leading truffle-hunting dogs.

        Newtown Truffiere hopes to partner with area businesses in creating truffle-infused delicacies in Scottsville and Bowling Green. They’ve begun with Hilltopper Creamery on Western’s campus, creating infused cheeses with both species of truffle.

        Thanks to similar soil quality and climates, Townsend believes that Kentucky and surrounding states could be the truffle capital of the United States.

        “Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, these areas really actually look a lot like the truffle-producing areas in Europe,” Townsend said.

        Those interested in growing truffles are encouraged to visit the North American Truffle Grower’s Association or NATGA.

        Copyright 2023 WBKO. All rights reserved

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