Archived truffle notes, and harvest observations from the 2018 season

2018 Season

A few notes cobbled together, not yet edited into smooth reading.

SEPTEMBER: Early September continued with cold soil temperatures finishing some good quality truffles at depth, and final harvest was on the 20th.
A final spell of cold weather late August, early September spurred a final flush of quality ripe truffles that remained at depth for first half of September. Followed by a high temperature week mid September, the aromatic qualities reduced so sales ceased. Remaining truffles were used for spore material, and some suitable cooking experiments.

AUGUST: Early August had a couple of frosts, but damage from July continued for the first half of the month. Second half of August had proper winter weather at last and production improved substantially.
At the end of August there is definitely September truffle beginning to ripen and some still fully unripe, however it's survival and eventual harvest will depend weather. A few warm days can be tolerated if the nights remain cold and there are some protective measures that can be taken with ripening truffles that have been located.
August saw an improvement in truffle quality, but damage from July weather has continued to present itself. The good ones are great truffles, the lost ones were mostly shallower and more vulnerable.

JULY: July trended far warmer than June, there were no frosts and this resulted in many truffles spoiling before being fully ripe. Enough good truffle remained for orders, but losses were substantial, and production unpredictable.
There was an unexpectedly slow increase in production throughout July, likely the consequences of a warm summer that extended into May. The exact factors in properly ripe truffle are not determined, we only have some general ideas of frosts, and daily minimum temperatures required for harvest start and continuation. Losses to warm evenings and days in July were substantial.


Harvesting commenced slowly in last week of June.

27th June, first very small harvest of good truffle. This will go to regular clients. With a lot of ripening truffle already marked, season should kick off as expected next week.... {it didn't}
18th June, expecting something worth eating end of the week. Tried one last
Tuesday 12th it wasn't worthwhile.
6th June, there's some aroma's from truffles that will be good in a few weeks, but nothing worth eating yet. At the moment, the ones with a little aroma have no better flavour than a portobello mushroom.
Interesting data from the weather bureau, the past 12 months July to June were the second warmest on record, 1.5C above average. Only behind 2015-2016 which saw Winter fail to start until July and Spring came early, this wiped truffle season from both ends.
Thankfully, amidst that, it has also been the coldest June in Melbourne for over ten years. This is seen in a slightly slow start to this season, which is about to take off. So >5weeks of cold weather appers to be required preseason. Hopefully there'll be no repeat of 2016's warm spells.

MAY: Early season has progressed similar to 2017, with a green Summer lasting until Mid January. Rainfall from 14Jan2018 was nearly non-existent until May, so irrigation was of great importance.

Truffle sign has been great. There is a significant reduction in surface truffles due to various successful experiments, and pre-season losses have dropped to <3% vs 10% in 2017. (40% in earlier years). Continued research on the few remaining truffle rot issues has progressed significantly {the mysteries are now mostly resolved as valuable trade secrets, -rather invaluable, as noone would be prepared to pay for the research}

Cold weather in May, intensified by the start of June which repeatedly saw nights in the 2-5Celsius range, colder by far than many other truffle growing areas in Australia. (WA suffered warm weather a week into June)
This resulted in a slightly earlier onset of ripe truffle post winter solstice, but still not as early as other regions/growers commence selling early truffles, so there's other factors involved than night time minimum temperatures.
The difference appears to be primarily individual quality standards, but also possibly ripening truffle flushes from earlier irrigation, another experiment for next season.