B.C. couple eyes fortune in truffle farming
Published Friday, July 11, 2008 10:18PM PDT
They don't look like much, just rows of trees growing in fields near Parksville.
But hidden from view are truffles, what Grant and Betty Duckett call masterpieces of nature.
"We call them diamonds because they certainly sparkle when you find them," said Betty.
Truffles are fungi, like a high-end mushroom that grows underground. Black Perigold truffles are normally grown in France.
And with the right climate and soil conditions, the Ducketts have found they can flourish here as well.
They look like lumps of coal, but one kilogram of these can sell for $3,000, almost as pricey as marijuana.
"If I could just mine a wheelbarrow load of those once a winter, I'd be a happy farmer," said Grant.
There is a downturn in the forest industry but there will always be trees.
Trees and truffles work together. The truffles collect water and nutrients for the tree, and in turn the tree rewards it with sugar.
To help locate these underground treats, the Ducketts imported Italian truffle dogs to sniff them out. Last winter, they dug up their first crop.
"We could sell them almost immediately," said Betty. "We've already had calls from people in the restaurant business that are looking for truffles."
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty.