NATGA

Michael Zablocki

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  • in reply to: Truffle Market: North America #8589
    Michael Zablocki
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    Hey Ruth, I am in Hamilton, ON and created a business plan last year for FCC, our agricultural bank. Ultimately, I decided to not pursue truffles at this moment for various reasons, mainly the cost of land is too high right now for me. Please send me an email and maybe we could talk on the phone and share info. My email is zablockimichael@gmail.com.

    in reply to: Supply #7352
    Michael Zablocki
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    Hey Laura, I agree with Fabrice. I am not sure where in Canada you are located, but it seems that the most supply of Canadian grown black truffles occurs on the West coast in BC. You could reach out to some of the truffieres there since you have a good idea they would be fresh. I cannot recommend anyone in particular though.

    I am also in Canada (southern Ontario) with a similar goal to yours. Please keep the membership aware of your progress towards your goal of establishing a truffiere and I will do the same. From my experience, there is a general unwillingness to share ideas amongst many truffle farmers, which I think hurts everyone. Trying to get a foot into truffle farming can sometimes feel like a lonely experience, especially when you sit down with a banker that thinks the idea of truffles is insane!

    Good luck with everything!

    in reply to: Truffles, of course #7350
    Michael Zablocki
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    To your point, I recently purchased 1 ounce of T. magnatum for ~$400 CAD through a high end Italian grocery chain in Toronto that had purchased through Urbani. However, when I asked the seller if it was T. magnum they looked very confused and shrugged – they did not know about the different species.

     

    I am probably reading too much into this, but I think it is a sign that North Americans are relatively new to truffles and don’t know (or care) about the different species and their hierarchal nature (T. mag being the most esteemed, followed by T. Mel.)  This could be a great opportunity to grow and market species that will thrive in North American climates and soils, instead of trying to change our environments to accommodate European species. It might make life easier for the truffle farmer and more profitable.

    Rowan’s talk certainly made me rethink and appreciate diverse truffle species more. I also wonder if the days of T.mel and T. mag being the main marketed truffle species are limited.

    in reply to: Financial Plan #5576
    Michael Zablocki
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    Thanks Fabrice. All the info you just gave is really useful and could help improve the model.

    • As you can see, the model I posted tried to follow the schedule proposed by Olivia Taylor in a recent webinar, which was to replant the orchard in segments in order to renew it. For simplicity, I chose to ignore the fact that you would likely also replant trees that did not survive.
    • The start of production occurring in year 5 may not be realistic, but with the general data on truffieres including mismanaged/neglected farms, I thought it may be okay to suggest year 5 as a start of production date. Also, it seems like there is no real way to forecast this, so I based it off of some data from farms nearest to me. But, I agree that 5 years is optimistic, and that anyone should be prepared to see production start later.
    • My thought was not to reinoculate, but to just replant with new trees every 20ish years. I did not come by much data on the costs of spanish wells, so if anyone has any insight on that it would be appreciated.
    • You are totally right, I did not include the cost of the dogs!

    Lastly, the model does imply that DNA testing of all trees occurs. This is not necessary for most truffle species, as DNA testing of a sample of trees is fine. But, if someone were to try and plant T. magnatum, DNA testing of every single tree would be necessary.

    Appreciate the feedback and insight Fabrice. It all helps.

    in reply to: Financial Plan #5562
    Michael Zablocki
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    Hello Fabrice, I am sharing a version of the financial model I used for my business submission. In a prior post I said I would, and I want to be good to my word. To provide some context, it is for a proposal in Ontario, Canada for a new farm (no prior land owned). I set the model to use the T. mel pricing data, as this seems to be the most common truffle people want to grow.

    My model used many sources, some of which I chose to exclude, so there are some blanks in cells that would normally contain notes and references. If anyone is interested in these references I may be able to share them privately. But, Fabrice, I reference your model and some of the webinar presenters in this. If anyone has an issue with being referenced in this, please let me know and I will gladly remove your name and other related info.

    I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information I presented. But, I did a lot of research and tried my best to be as accurate and thorough as possible.

    If there are any issue with opening it please let me know.

    Lastly, this model tries to be very hard with the costs. You must make your own judgement on whether or not the costs are realistic or not. Of particular importance, I think some agriculture banks may let you do an interest only payment period, so that should definitely be explored. The model also assumes you sell exclusively wholesale at a 50% discount to retail rate.

    Thank you.

    Link to model. Please make a copy.

    in reply to: Help with irrigation, yield, and price for business plan #5459
    Michael Zablocki
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    Thanks for the help Fabrice. I know that in her talk Olivia said the wholesale price is essentially 50% of retail, and I have assumed that the majority of sales would be wholesale. While this may or may not be true depending on how the business pans out, the 50% discount on retail price may be enough to cover the fact that most of the truffles sold will be lower than premium grade.

    Really appreciate your response. I have also viewed the financial model you posted in another thread and it has helped me a lot. When I am finished with mine, I will definitely post it so that others can hopefully benefit from it.

    in reply to: Truffle Demand #4547
    Michael Zablocki
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    Simon, I am just seeing your post now. I appreciate you sharing your experience and advice. It sounds like social media may be a great way to engage with individual “foodies”. Obviously having individuals to continue purchasing truffles while restaurants cannot helps. Again, relationships seem to be the common thread in everyones response. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    in reply to: Commercial Truffle Cultivation in Western Oregon #4424
    Michael Zablocki
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    Hey Fabrice, thanks for sharing. That was really informative for me. I liked the map showing all the productive truffieres in North America. Also, the idea of finding truffles growing on lower branches seems very interesting, but I imagine that is quite rare.

    in reply to: Truffle Demand #4389
    Michael Zablocki
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    Chris, thanks for the information. Pursing ‘a la carte’ restaurants seems like great advice. As well, I like the idea of building relationships with chefs for many reasons, one being that chefs can move around to different restaurants and you want them to remember you wherever they go.

    in reply to: Truffle Demand #4385
    Michael Zablocki
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    Thanks Staci. I like the idea of assisting each other with the clearing house and will definitely be attending Olivia Martin’s discussion. It’s reassuring to hear that your issue in the past has been trying to keep up with demand for your product.

    in reply to: Truffle Demand #4377
    Michael Zablocki
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    Fabrice, I really appreciate your reply. I also wonder if there are any food distribution companies that might be interested. That way you don’t have a lot of small buyers, but instead have some larger customers. I know some restaurants near me buy from a company called MGM truffles. Just a thought.

    If anyone else had some experience acquiring customers I would love to hear your story. Thanks!

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)