When it comes to exotic foods on the market, white truffles are some of the most delicious, and the most expensive. But that might be changing, as French scientists have recently revealed how to grow white truffles.
Growing white truffles outside of their natural distribution range takes careful attention to your trees and a lot of time, but it can be done as long as you have thriving and inoculated trees that your target truffles enjoy.
For more on how to grow a white truffle, read on.
How To Grow White Truffles
Growing your own white truffles starts with soil analysis. White truffles, especially the Italian white truffles that are so highly prized, require a very specific pH and water balance to thrive.
The second thing truffle cultivation requires is an abundance of the proper plant life. White truffles, like black truffles and burgundy truffles, are partial to certain tree species.
What Do You Need For Truffle Cultivation?
Once you’ve checked the water and pH balance to be sure you have appropriate soils, you’ll need to do the following:
- Set up a precise irrigation system to maintain the water and pH balance white truffles prefer. According to French scientists, this is land with a water content (pF) of 3, and a pH of about 7.5 (almost neutral).
- Plant trees that have been inoculated with truffle spores.
- Allow your truffle hosts to grow and mature.
- Purchase a dog, trained in truffle detection – truffle farming is easier with a dog to help you find your crop.
- When the proper season comes, check your growing areas and see that your truffles are harvested.
How Long Does It Take Until Truffle Cultivation Occurs?
If your planting goes well, and you’ve set up your ground to be similar to their natural habitat, then you should have truffles ready to be harvested within 4-7 years of planting.
It may be longer if the water balance is too far off, or conditions aren’t right.
Can White Truffles Be Grown Indoors?
There are some theories that truffles can be grown indoors or off ground, in the right environment, but this is a risky proposition with white truffles, and even with their black counterparts.
Generally speaking, even controlled production of truffles is best done in a large area, to give everything room to grow.
How Much Space is Recommended for Truffle Farming?
At the very minimum, researchers suggest you’ll want a space of approximately 50 meters squared to get a decent crop of truffles. Most, however, recommend having much larger farms, ideally several acres.
Is Growing White Truffles Different From Growing Black Truffles?
Growing white truffles and growing black truffles are two very different projects. For one thing, black truffle cultivation has actually been part of efforts to preserve food and the environment for many years.
There are other differences as well:
- Preferred Environment – white truffles are rarely found outside of their natural distribution range: the Balkan peninsula, and specific areas of France and Italy.
- Rarity: The Italian white truffle is nearly impossible to find, and becomes rarer every year with climate change.
- Soil Balance: Black truffles actually prefer a slightly higher water balance than their white counterparts.
What Kind of Tree Species Are Best For White Truffle Cultivation?
If you’re planning to start a white truffle orchard, especially outside of their natural area, you’ll need to pick very specific plants. Specifically, a white truffle in its native habitat grows underground, around the roots of deciduous trees.
White truffles are known to prefer the following species of tree:
- Hazels and hazelnuts
Certain varieties may also be found on the roots of pine.
Who First Started Cultivating Truffles?
White truffles were first cultivated in the french regions by a research engineer Claude Murat.  After the successful cultivation of the fungus for the black truffle, Claude Murat and his partner, Flora Todesco, began researching ways to grow white truffles.
According to Murat, climate change is making it harder to find white truffles in their natural distribution range around areas of France and Italy. With the delicacy becoming ever rarer, they hoped to bring the production of Italian white truffles, and other varieties, to other European countries.
Why Did Todesco and Murat Start White Truffle Cultivation?
According to the information researchers present at WeTruf – Todesco and Murat’s company – the goal is to eventually have a thriving truffle orchard in multiple places around the world.
Their stated goal is to preserve truffles in their natural habitats, by setting up white truffle orchards where food lovers can find make their delicious gastronomic memories, thus preserving the food and the environment.
What Effect Is Truffle Cultivation Expected to Have On The Market?
White truffles, specifically Tuber Magnatum Pico, are considered the ‘white gold’ of the food industry. Producing them in other countries outside France and Italy could potentially make them less valuable, but also more available to people around the world.
However, the true test of truffle cultivation’s effect on the market won’t be seen until researchers can prove that changing the habitat doesn’t change the taste.
If the mere mention of growing your own white truffles makes your mouth water, you’ll want to start by checking for appropriate soils and the right foliage around your home. After that, it’s a matter of time and attention.
If everything goes well, in a few years, you’ll be producing tasty fungi that not only make your mouth water but could be a profitable business as well.
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