On a cold day in rural Leicestershire, Dr Paul Thomas was checking on one of his UK plantations, sites that he establishes in partnership with landowners and farmers “The wind was cold as I walked to the first tree to take my annual root samples”. Dr Thomas was in for a huge surprise, as when he pulled the grass aside, in front of him he found a large and very rare prize. “I was in complete shock! I jumped backwards, dropped my tools and ran back to the farmhouse. It felt like I had seen a ghost”.
During our 2015 Napa Truffle Festival, we ran a very successful fungi foray with mycologists David Campbell and Stephanie Jarvis. After recent rains the finds were incredibly varied with prized edibles including matsutake and elfin saddle-backs. The real star of the foray though, was a surprise find of a rare truffle species by Lolo and her expert handler Alana McGee. Around the base of a young Douglas fir a fruity-smelling truffle was unearthed.
The 5th annual festival is due to start in just over a week. Running from the 15th to the 19th of January, the festival is going to be one to remember. There will be a broad range of talks from the science of truffle cultivation and new advances to scent detection and economics. There are excursions that include Truffle hunting demos, a mushroom foray with expert David Campbell and a number of dinners at wineries with top chefs from around the world and of course our very own top truffle chef in America, Ken Frank. See here for more details: http://napatrufflefestival.com/