American Company Farms their Own Truffles

Mar 09, 2016 07:11 PM EST | By Josine Macaspac (

Five years ago, the American Truffle Company (ATC), a start-up business, grew a small orchard for truffles at the Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Napa, California. The vineyard was California's first winery property that entered the grower-partnership program of the American Truffle Company. It is said that five to seven years are needed by farmed truffles in order to produce fruit, and now that the orchard is nearing maturity, the roots of the trees planted therein are already exhibiting "exceptionally vibrant truffle mycorrhizal activity".

The truffles that will be grown here will be the first "scientifically grown" kind in the whole United States of America, and will be the first to be cultivated in the state of California. Just in the previous year, trained truffle dogs were able recognize a few trees within the orchard that possessed "truffle potential". This meant that the scent there was strong enough to be able to conclude that ripe truffles are on the way.

Truffles are fruits of a certain type of fungus that flourishes among roots of trees. Some varieties include the white alba truffle from Piedmont, Italy; black winter truffle from Périgord, France; and black summer truffle from Burgundy, France. There are a lot more varieties of truffle, including four that are endemic to Oregon, but these three from Europe are far more renowned for their flavor.

While it will take at least three days for the European truffles to be shipped to California, the American Truffle Company claims that it will be able to deliver in 20 minutes after harvest to kitchens within Napa. This new timetable will be crucial for dishes or food items that start to lose flavor, freshness, and aroma right after their harvest. Truffles have an aroma "half-life" of four to five days, and so this claim by ATC, if true, could potentially change the game for a lot of restaurants.

If this project by the American Truffle Company and Robert Sinkey Vineyards turns out to be a success, it would mean the reduction of price of truffles, which currently retail for hundreds or thousands of dollars per pound. Currently, only black truffles can be cultivated in orchards, while white truffles still have scientists stumped.

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