World’s Most Productive Truffle Orchard is in the US

Biotechnology puts North Carolina on the trufficulture map.

World’s Most Productive Truffle Orchard is in the US | Biotechnology puts North Carolina on the trufficulture map.

Three partners, two acres, and one diamond of a crop. The owners of Burwell Farms have combined biotechnology, agriculture, and regenerating farming in North Carolina. Their crop is the prized truffle, known to epicureans as the “diamond of the kitchen.” The farm’s recent and outstanding crop is a triumph for truffles in the US!

While truffles are grown mostly in Italy, Spain, and France, there has been less success in the US, with the most productive orchard located in California. That is, until now.

It all started when Nancy Rosborough decided to save her family’s 100-year-old farm, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Having always grown tobacco, declining demand forced local farmers to either give up or become creative.

Rosborough came up with an innovative idea to grow truffles. Knowing nothing about this underground fungus that creates a thread-like network around tree roots, Rosborough teamed up with micologist Omoanghe Isikhuemhen and founded Mycorrhiza Biotech.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Burwell Farms® (@burwellfarms)

Isikhuemhen, known as Dr. Omon, is a specialist in shiitake mushrooms at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. After experimenting with truffles, he came upon a literally ground-breaking solution. Omon will not reveal his secret, but it has to do with growing truffles using the local loblolly pine tree.

“It’s a secret mix that grows truffles five times faster than any other media. Its composition is very abnormal,” he told Smithsonian Magazine.

Richard Franks then joined the team as chief scientific officer.  In 2014, they planted the first two acres of pine trees with inoculated bianchetto tubers and thought they would have to wait six to eight years, according to The Warren Record. But just two and a half years later, the first truffle was found. More were uncovered, yielding a delicious flavor described as “earthy, garlicky, buttery and cheesy.”

After many years of hard work, Burwell Farm’s truffles are literally bursting from the ground. With an estimated 200 pounds of truffles, they are now the world’s most productive truffle orchard. Their 5,500 pines are expected to harvest over 1,000 pounds of truffles annually, and they are encouraging local farmers to purchase their pine tree saplings in order to produce their own truffles.

Thanks to three brave and creative visionaries, American trufficulture is finally taking off. Agronomists are interested, chefs are excited, and farmers have a new and profitable crop to grow. For American gourmands, the “diamond of the kitchen” is now a homegrown delicacy.

7 Ways Mushrooms Can Solve the World’s Problems
Chef Revives Ozark Cuisine Seed By Seed
Mushrooms are Sweeping the World of Urban Farming