Well we are in the middle of the off season for the trufferie and while it’s quiet at the moment there’s been a lot happened post harvest.
The trufferie was in need of a good mow having been left unmown for a few months. We generally don’t mow from late February until the end of the season as it’s important not to have heavy machinery running over the forming and ripening truffles. Grass growth slows down in the winter months and as the trufferie matures the brulee increases so we can manage the grass fairly well – even though it starts to look a little untidy.
The next big job was pruning. Evergreen Oaks seem to grow like weeds and put on a huge amount of growth each season. It’s important that the ground under the trees get plenty of sunlight and warmth during summer so the truffle spores can reproduce, hence we try and keep the canopy to a minimum to let as much light into the trufferie as possible. Our trees are well established with 15+ years growth and some pretty big branches so pruning is a massive undertaking producing huge amounts
Once we’ve cleared off the prunings then the next task was to ‘rip the rows’. Cutting or ripping the tree roots promotes growth of new fine roots for the truffle spores to attach to. This involves running an aerator down each row which looks fairly brutal but does the job. Once this had been done we reinfected the trufferie with a truffle puree of spare truffles which had been kept in the freezer over winter. Truffle spores have a maternal and paternal mating type and over time it seems one is wiped out by the other. This means unless both types are present the tree won’t produce truffle. By reintroducing spores collected during the season we are balancing up the spore types and promoting truffle production.
So now the summer hard work is over and we are letting nature do it’s magic underground – waiting to see what treasures the new season will bring.