The Scientific Truffle Growing Seminar, held on day one of the Napa Truffle Festival is one of the premier ways of learning how to get into the business of growing truffles. Yes, truffles are cultivated, not just hunted for in the wild. In fact, 95% of truffles in France are cultivated.
Although there are literally hundreds of different types of truffles, only two are reliably cultivated and have proven to be economically viable—Tubor melanosporum, also known as the black Périgord truffle, and Tuber aestivum/uncinatum or Burgundy summer truffle with a milder scent and less valuable. Growing them boils down to five things.
1. Geographical location
Location, location, location. You have to have the right location to grow truffles. The right seasonal shifts and climatic zone is key. You might be surprised to know all the areas where Périgord truffles are being cultivated in the US. Check out this truffle map.
Truffles need hosts, and in particular oak trees, hazelnut trees, silver birch, chestnut, even pine trees in some locations.
Different truffle types require just the right balance of sand, clay and silt.
Alkaline soil is what truffles need to grow, but that can be adjusted with lime. The amount and frequency of application depends on the soil type.
Weeds and herbivores can be deadly. Deer, rabbits, gophers and in particular field voles can be very destructive to your young trees.
Want to learn more? Check out the FAQs at the American Truffle Company.