Growing precious black truffles in Kentucky

Anita Durairaj

Truffles are lumpy and misshaped mushrooms that grow underground. The truffle is a fungus that mainly belongs to the genus Tuber but there are also other genera of fungi that can be classified as truffles. Truffles grow around the roots of trees.

Truffles are a rare and expensive delicacy and are highly prized as food. Truffles are considered to be the "diamond of the kitchen."

There are different species of truffles and one of the most valuable is the Perigord black truffle which may be sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars per pound. These truffles are very hard to find accounting for their high prices.

Black truffles are mainly grown and cultivated in France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, and Slovenia. However, there are now a handful of truffle orchards in the U.S. Truffles grow symbiotically with specific types of trees in the truffle orchards. These trees may be oak, hazel, poplar, beech, and pine.

Truffles are also being grown in Kentucky by individual farms. It has been reported that the Kentucky climate is perfect for growing European truffles.

While there are a few truffle orchards in Kentucky, it is still not commonly grown in the state. There are several reasons for this.

First, truffle cultivation is difficult. There are no true and tried methods that work. It can be a risky endeavor with a high possibility of failure.

Secondly, while the Kentucky climate may be perfect for truffles, the soil needs work. Truffles require well-drained soil that is high in calcium with a pH of 7.5 to 8.3. In Kentucky, the soil pH needs to be raised before planting.

Regardless of the setbacks, there is burgeoning interest in truffle cultivation in Kentucky.

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