Australian Truffle season in 2020 ran from early June to 6th September.
The 2021 season will likely commence sometime in June 2021
We conducted some successful experiments with truffle preservation in 2020, and intend to develop some genuine truffle products during/after this 2021 Winter season.
Season progress in 2021...
Unlike the previous season, growth across all crops has been phenomenal through the 2021 Summer/Autumn
This has allowed us to again cut labour input considerably in March/April, instead relying on improved soil conditions to protect the bulk of the harvest. We are expecting a great harvest this year, but anticipate preserving most of it.
Market Outlook There is an invigorated interest in home consumer use of truffle, and cooking great meals with good quality truffle is truly easy.
In contrast the overall market for truffle continues to look bleak as the longer term impacts of multiple Covid19 lockdowns, and seating restrictions continue to affect the hospitality industry worldwide.
Time will tell if the increase in home cooking is enough to support growers, especially those relying on shifting high volumes of lower quality less suited to domestic use.
2020 season summary
A cold Summer led to a small harvest in 2020. Not only truffles, local crops like grapes and apples were all affected, with harvest volumes around 50% of a normal season.
A nice cold start to Winter and early Autumn produced high quality truffle earlier than ever seen in past years, with good truffles from mid-June. July had wonderful cold, dry weather perfect for hunting and producing great quality. Frequent rain in August made harvesting more difficult, but all orders were readily filled.
There was very low demand for truffles due to Covid lockdown and most truffle was sold for use as spore for trees. We predicted this in February though and saved considerable labour costs pre-winter for a further loss of harvestable truffle, which then matched the actual demand nicely, with none left spare.
Some preliminary tests with preservation yielded great results and we will develop the products/techniques further in 2021
2019 season summary
The season had it's good and bad points, a large crop was present, but an overall warm winter, with frequent rainfall created many problems with both harvest volume and quality. This resulted in half of the harvest going for use as spore (tree inoculation or to be dug around existing trees -and there's still >30kg in freezer for our own orchard or sale).
"Truffles are only really good after Christmas*.....So let us allow ignorant fops, beardless gourmands, and inexperienced palates the perry triumph of eating the first truffles."
Grimod de La Reynière -Wikipedia
As the originator of food reviews and magazines in the early 1800's, he drew attention to the issue of "early truffles" perfectly.
*In Australia 'Christmas truffle' equates to post winter solstice (~22nd June), early truffles can be acceptable IF you know how to use them well in appropriate dishes, but they may still lack the true truffle wow factor.
We will probably have some truffle in June depending on weather. Reasonable quality early truffles, will be available at farm gate sales only, along with advice on getting the most from them in the kitchen. Some dishes are worth preparing, others applications like infusions simply don't work with early season (or cheap) truffles.
What's an early truffle?
Early truffles are those that display some truffle like properties, namely aroma and flavour, but lack the full impact of one that is properly ripe.
Generally this should only be a problem at the start of the season. However the same quality issues can occur anytime one is harvested underripe. Whether this due to occasional error, or lamentable methods used to meet the everpresent commercial demand for cheaper supply (such as unskilled labour, or hurried harvest).
It's a shame the food industry demands truffles before the season truly commences as it results in many "I tried it once, didn't like it" experiences. Yet by half way through the season when production peaks, there's a drop in demand, as much of the enthusiasm was wasted on the early junk. Followed by total disinterest in September, before the end of season as focus shifts to Spring menus.. rather than exploring truffle in salads etc.
This sale of early truffle occurs in Australia May/June and Europe November/December. Social media is full of brown coloured truffle at these times, and even into the season proper. There's a good reason the name is Black Winter Truffle, not brown, it's the colour of the Ripe Spores.
Contact Us to arrange supply.
Season progression, an approximation:
October-December, Maintenance, Soil aeration, amendments, mowing, pruning, Stage 1: truffle initiation
January-April Stage 2: truffle survival. Protecting truffles, irrigation, mowing, summer pruning
May-June Stage 3: truffles begin ripening;
- early June a few truffles possibly worth eating, mashed potato, egg are appropriate dishes, but shouldn't be sold
.... June -early truffles good enough to sell with qualification on using in appropriate dishes
If you want great truffle, wait till it's peak season. If you can't wait, understand it's not going to be 100%, wherever you may buy it from.
WINTER SOLSTICE ~21st June
.... late June/July start of properly ripe truffle displaying all the proper qualities of flavour and aroma
.... July/August Peak Season
... late August/early September reducing harvest volume and concerns about warm weather ending season early.
... September tail end of season, 2016=7thSept, 2017=21stSept, 2018=17thSept