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City slicker turned farmer Sherry
McArdle-English took the truffle industry
by storm when she made her first discovery
in record-breaking time.
Found just two-and-a-half years after the
farm's trees were planted, Sherry couldn't
bring herself to eat the walnut-sized truffle,
instead preserving it in a glass jar.
"I kept it in the freezer for six months, and
every time friends came to the house, I took
it out of the freezer and told them all about
truffles," she laughed.
"So I really got my value out of that little
This winter, French Black Truffles will
experience its third har vest, which Sherry
expects to be the biggest and best yet.
"Our climate this year, leading into the
season, is proving to be very good. We've
had rain at the right time for the first time,
the trees are looking particularly healthy and
we're very excited about having a positive
harvest this year."
The season will be officially announced
on June 1, although truffles could be found
before that date, depending on how many
frosts the farm receives.
Distinctive, aromatic delicacies typically
farmed in Europe, truffles grow on the roots
of oak and hazelnut trees and ripen when
freezing, frosty weather hits.
Highly trained sniffer dogs are then
used to locate the truffles, following which
the truffles are recovered "much like an
"When we're digging we use tools with a
round edge so we don't damage the truffle,"
"It can take anywhere up to half-an-hour
to find a truffle."
After removing any excess soil, washing
and jarring the truffles, the items are sold
and moved off the site on the same day.
"Truffles only have a shelf life of 14
days, so it's really important that they
get delivered out to the restaurants and
the outlets very quickly so that they
Mart Deli at Fyshwick Markets and
Kitchen Cabinet at Old Parliament House
are the two main outlets for Sherry's
A-grade French Black Truffles -- and
working out at about $2,500 per kilo, the
delicacies don't come cheap.
According to Sherry, a truffle of about
40 grams used sparingly in an entrée and
a main dish for six people, would cost
you about $100.
"We're talking about prices around the
same as saffron, caviar, lobster. It is an
With Australia's truffle industry growing rapidly, NAOMI FALLON visited a Canberra farm to
get the low-down on these delectable delights.
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