This web page is mainly about the Tuber Melanosporum (The Black Truffle, The Black Perigord Truffle, The Black Winter Truffle ) and my personal experience in establishing a 4 hectare (12 acres approx.) black truffle farm from scratch, with little farming experience. It is located in the province of Huesca, Spain, on the outskirts of a town called Barbastro. 99% of my trees are the inoculated holm oak with a few inoculated downy oaks on the lower part of the land where it tends to be more humid. Remember, I am located in the northern hemisphere for all you people down under or below the equator. So, always to remember to reverse your seasons.
To make things clear from the beginning. I am not a scientist nor have I studied in any university this subject. I am a layman by heart and trade. I have the philosophy that if I could learn to fly and hover a helicopter, I can basically do anything (within reason to a certain extent). There is a lot of myth, lore and/or blatant lies about truffles and farming them. It is still a relatively new farming concept to a certain degree. But, I am fortunate enough to live in a area where black truffles were collected by the sack full some years ago in the wild. I have also had the good fortune to get to know alot of the old timers in my town who used to go out and collect them from the mountains surrounding my town. Plus, in this area of Spain, there are enormous tracts of land dedicated to farming the black truffle. The more successful truffle farmers are usually quiet about their yearly yields, you only hear from the black truffle farmers whose truffle trees dont produce for one reason or another.
The preceding is from what I learned 1st hand; I have read a lot of books in English and Spanish on the subject, searched the internet endlessly for quality info, prepared, fenced and planted about 3 of 12 acres this year and by blatantly plagiarizing what I learned from others. I have attended black truffle growing courses, am a member of the local truffle growers assoc., been on freshly planted truffle farms, truffle farms that are producing and truffle farms that dont and probably will never produce any truffles. I have the added bonus that there is a local lad from my town who sells certified black truffle trees, he is a forester and has been in this business for a number of years. Its written with my quirky sense of humor but dont let that give any less importance to my findings. Last but not least, you should always double and triple check any information before applying any techniques to your truffle farm. Alot of truffle farms have been ruined by applying erroneous techniques. You will have invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears (money too) to make this venture work, so be very sure of what you do and who you listen to. Another very important factor you always have to remember is that a black truffle grows underground. Its not a almond, olive, orange, lemon, etc. tree where the fruit grows above the ground or on the branches. So take a lot of care never to damage the root system of your trees or it will be all for naught.
You can thank the collaboration between the scientific world and truffle farmers who have made this type of farming profitable in the last 15 years or so. Before then, a black truffle farm was very much a hit or miss venture. The quality control that exists today is absolutely amazing compared to just a few short years ago.
I would like to express my thanks to Marcos, who gave me, invaluable advice on how to be a successful black truffle farmer.
An extra special thanks to Mario, who is the local lad from my town. He has been an enormous help in guiding me along this new venture. Mario is a forester in the province of Huesca and sells quality inoculated truffle trees. I am a curious type of person and I have bombarded these 2 poor souls at times with my endless questions and they have always taken the time to answer me in detail.
My thanks also goes to the countless people who I have been luckily enough to know in the last few years who have guided me with their insight and wisdom concerning black truffles. The same goes to all the old timers from my town. I still get teased about a Yank coming to their corner of the world to be a black truffle farmer.