Our 2017 Truffle Season ran from June through to mid September
Welcome to Yarra Valley Truffles
We are currently Victoria's biggest producer of black truffle, as well as producers of Victoria's biggest truffle. (it's also the worlds biggest Perigord Black Winter Truffle 1.5kg, August 2016)
Located one hour from Melbourne, in volcanic red soil amongst the undulating hills of Victoria's Yarra Valley, and surrounded by vineyards, the cool climate is similar to the Perigord region of France from where the Black Winter Truffle (Tuber melanosporum) originates. Cold winters, warm summers and high rainfall of the Yarra Valley region are beneficial to both truffle and wine production. The truffiére was planted in 2006 and commenced initial production in 2011 at 5 years of age.
Since then, harvest volume has continued to increase annually, reaching commercial (full time workload) quantities in 2015, at 9 years of age. With observation and research into all aspects of truffle growing, the productive areas/trees of our truffiére are continuing to expand each year.
Our goal is to produce and market the highest quality truffles possible. Ripening truffle is first located, then further monitored until reaching peak quality. Although labour intensive, this approach ensures the truffles are harvested at peak aroma and flavour. The best description of this process is that it's equivalent to frequently monitoring, then harvesting a vine ripened tomato. With 3-5 weeks from the initial first aroma's, simply harvesting once there's a smell or a dog reaction does not result in good truffle.
Our truffiére is maintained organically, promoting a fully natural, healthy soil & environment. No fertilisers or herbicides are used.
The last few truffles being harvested now are for personal use and a couple of regular clients. 21-9-17
Truffle season commenced after winter solstice, with decent quality from the 25th of June. July production was reasonable, but the market was saturated with cheap truffle from Western Australia, wiping out out both local & export markets with undercutting and dumping tactics. This was followed by a spell of warm weather at the start of August which destroyed a large percentage of our ripening truffle, but the small amount of existing, online orders & farm gate sales were supplied with ease. Production recovered somewhat in second half of August, although the resultant damaged truffle continues to be found well into September.
Phrased otherwise, it wasn't worth expending much effort to harvest all ripe truffle in August, as the market was trashed throughout the season, either by producers of low quality bulk truffle, or weather.
A cool summer with reasonably frequent rainfall saw a greener than normal season. This meant the trees were more active and supplied a greater amount of carbohydrates for truffle size increase throughout Feb-April(May).
Near surface signs first commenced a little earlier in mid-January, and in April there was again a significant increase in overall harvest volume apparent (if it survives to maturity). Newly producing trees, many in previously non-active areas of the orchard, taking overall truffle bearing trees to 33% of those planted in the truffle orchard.
Autumn maintenance was primarily promoting survival rate of known truffles, finding new signs and removing rotten.
Many initial aroma's and ripening signs were present at the end of May 2017
Some initial early truffles were present in early June, but proper production commenced after winter solstice 22nd June.
July saw some decent truffle production, the majority of growing & volume production problems have been solved, and the six months pre-season work has yielded great results. Seasonal weather is also a factor, but insect damage and rot is negligible in 2017, likely 10-15% compared with 40-60% in past seasons.
August and early September look to be great in terms of production quality and volume.
The 2016 season was severely delayed and affected by a late winter and high median temperatures compared with previous 5 seasons. Full volume harvesting was delayed until late July, yet still concluded in early September.
Overall truffle production was close to triple 2015 volume, but this increase was fully negated by the season's abnormal weather.
A very dry December/January was followed by high rainful in Autumn. Developed management techniques from past seasons dealt with this, and 90% of the crop was intact at start of season (compared with past average of 40% to 60% intact). However the warm winter ultimately caused further 75% losses with final ripe harvest only equaling the 2015 volume.
The number of producing trees increased to 29% of the orchard, with clear signs of further improvement in future.
The 2015 truffle season ran throughout July & August, with a few final truffles for Father's Day in September. Cold May/June weather had surprisingly little effect on season start, with properly ripe truffles again commencing in early July. Weekly production continued to increase through July, and tapered off sharply after a mid-August warm spell.
A cool start to summer with sufficient rain kicked off the growth cycle well. February/March saw surface truffles start appearing and there was a 50% increase in the number of productive trees to 24.9%. There was also a nice harvest of hazelnuts.
Previous Seasons 2011-14
Initial production commenced in 2011 at Year 5 with a couple of kilograms of saleable truffle, outweighed by rot/insect/surface damaged. The next few years saw an improvement in harvest amounts, with saleable yield approximately doubled each year for 2012/13/14/15. Different rot/damage issues with insects and weather presented each season, leading to development of cultivation techniques. There was continued improvement of both canine and human skills with both locating truffle & identifying optimal ripeness.