Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter.
The seasons fly by and most of us associate them with the weather (usually the temperature or type of precipitation). But few of us associate a specific season with the type of food available because it’s what’s currently being harvested.
We’ve been guilty of that for quite some time. Roll in to the grocery store and buy avocados, or tomatoes or limes and they are always there – at almost the same price. Until recently of course and the prices continue to fluctuate for a variety of reasons. Then we start to notice what’s in season and what’s not! Well, that and being next to Desert Roots Farm, LLC at one of our local farmer’s markets and constantly hearing people ask for things that AREN’T in season.
Lately, life has been revolving very tightly around both salt and truffles, and winter is the season we seem to take most note of now, not just because of the incredible weather, but because of the black winter truffle harvest. As of this week, the truffle season in the Northern Hemisphere has come to an end. It was, by all counts, a good season (or so we’ve been told). The price of truffles was under $1000 a pound (by a whole $40) and the quality of the truffles from Europe was exceptional. Until that whole Chinese truffle debacle hit.
The French set the price of truffles each year on December 1. Here in the U.S. there is a 100% import tariff. So the Chinese stand to make a whole lot of money selling $30 a pound truffles for 30 times the money in France and other parts of Europe and as much as 60 times the money here in the U.S. Literally tons of truffles are being imported INTO France and being passed off as Perigord truffles rather than being identified as the inferior offering that they are.
It’s a travesty on two counts. One, people enjoying their first truffle experience are ultimately disappointed by the inferior offering because it just doesn’t meet their expectations – and frankly it won’t. Chinese truffles are an utter culinary disappointment!
Two, Chinese truffles are now being found GROWING in French soil. That means that soon (in the next 20-30years or so) even fewer than the meager 20 tonnes of truffles harvested in all of Europe will be found. The Chinese truffles are much more robust and will eventually overtake traditional Perigord crops. Ugh, another lost crop in the offing.
So, what can be done? We say plant a truffiere to help preserve Perigord black truffle growth, and that’s exactly what we are planning on doing. Our website for Dutchman’s Truffiere goes live by the end of the week and the Kickstarter project goes live on April 5th. We spent the better part of yesterday looking at various parcels of land to confirm their suitability. We are so close we can almost smell the truffles being dug from the ground!
So stay tuned, we think it will make quite the culinary conversation piece not just in Arizona, but around the world!