The New Idaho Tuber: First White Truffle Produced in Idaho
On February 12, 2012, the first North American cultivated Bianchetto truffle (aka tuber borchii, Italian spring white truffle or Tuscany white truffle) was harvested in a truffle orchard near Boise, Idaho. The inoculated seedlings were provided by Dr. Charles Lefevre of New World Truffieres.
Paul Beckman and Brad Sprenger were hunting for truffles with Sophia (a Lagotto Romagnolo or Italian Truffle Dog) on Beckman’s farm. While Mr. Beckman is testing five different truffle varieties in his orchard, they were specifically focused on hunting the Bianchetto truffle because this variety matures in the spring. Sophie identified the Bianchetto truffle at a depth of about 8”underground.
Beckman, Sprenger and several other Boise area farmers have planted thousands of trees inoculated by Dr. Charles Lefevre at New World Truffieres in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is also home to the Oregon Truffle Festival where most of the Idaho growers have gathered to learn the art of truffle growing. Every year truffle experts from around the world are brought in for these grower seminars. Most of these experts have ties to the mycology department at Oregon State University.
Most inoculated trees are European hazelnut, but several oak tree varieties have also been planted. The Idaho group hopes to bring Idaho to the international stage as a key producer of this gourmet delicacy and bring a healthy competition to their eastern counterparts such as Dr Tom Michaels of Tennessee Truffles, the first commercial grower in the US. He has been producing the French Perigord black truffles (tuber melanosporum) since 2007.