Robin Kable

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  • in reply to: Growing truffles in Milwaukee, WI? #6819
    Robin Kable
    Hi Stephanie,
    I am a truffle grower in Maryland where we have hard frosts sometimes in October. We occasionally have serious ground freeze down to a few inches in November.
    I grow both Tuber aestivum (four years) and Tuber canaliculatum (two years) but have not yet produced any truffles. Both of these truffle species should be appropriate where there is significant winter ground freeze as their harvest seasons end by November.
    I harvest Tuber canaliculatum in the wild also. It grows in the mountains in places with very serious winters and it is a very aggressive truffle in terms of colonizing tree roots and competing with other fungi. You won’t find much information about it but we are trying to change that. There are some orchards around here that have had the native T. canaliculatum grow accidentally in their truffle orchards. The going price for this truffle is around $6-800/lb but there is one person who will pay ~$1,300. So it is certainly a valuable truffle in the very small community of people who even know what it is.
    Tuber aestivum has a very broad native range in Europe implying that it should be able to grow almost anywhere. That said, there are very few orchards that have actually produced this species of truffles in America, and none at any real volume. This might be because it needs cooler soil temperatures caused by full canopy formation (older, larger trees with longer time requirements to reach this point) but it isn’t clear.
    The root samples in both of my orchards (both species of truffle) look good in terms of demonstrating healthy truffle fungus on the roots. One thing I can say is that the long waiting period to produce truffles does not appear to be the case for the native Tuber canaliculatum. My friend who produces the trees planted his own orchard (essentially the only other orchard in North America) and he has been producing truffles out of it for a number of years (without having large mature trees and canopy closure). So it is an N of 1 success with pretty early truffle production. The common name for the species is the Appalachian truffle.
    Let me know if you have any questions. My Instagram is Wakefield Truffles if you want to see some photos of the Appalachians.
    Ben Kable
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