Archived truffle notes, and harvest observations from the 2021 season

2021 Season

Some website notes from the 2021 season, not fully edited

2021 Season

An overall cool Summer, with plenty of rain has led to bountiful harvests in Vineyards and Orchards throughout the Yarra Valley.
The truffle harvest also looks to be plentiful, as long as we get the proper Winter weather required to fully ripen the truffle, with the cold to set the deep flavour and aroma.
{... post season note; Proper weather didn't eventuate, warm days/nights saw 80% of the crop never receive the conditions required to properly ripen! But it didn't matter much, Covid restrictions and lockdowns saw zero export, only few hospitality orders, and some initial direct/online consumer trade that vanished as the crisis|confidence situation worsened.}

  • ✔15-19th September:Soil aeration for 2021 season
  • October-November: Maintenance and preparation for 2021 season
  • ✔ December: Truffles start forming
  • ✔ January 2021: First signs of truffles in soil, Irrigation commences
  • ✔February: Hazelnut harvest/removal. Irrigation. protecting developing truffles.
  • ✔March: Soil improvement measures over past few years are yielding results, with less truffle requiring labour intensive protection measures. Feb/Mar only cursory effort was input for less than 10% loss so far.
  • ✔April: Removal of truffles damaged by rot or insects is essential for long term prospects, and protection measures will still be required. We also need to estimate sales potential this year with Covid impacting restaurants and export, likely below sustainability. We plan a retail focus this year, and are developing products which can use the rest of the harvest.
  • ✔May:
    • Final preparations for season
    • Monitoring development to determine season commencement date for properly ripe truffle
    • As always top quality will only appear once it is truly cold and frosty.
  • ✔June:
    Season commenced at start of June, quite early with strong frost and other factors coming into play.
    But, due to Covid Economy Breaker measures by Government, we can't open like most of the 2020 season, and are currently focusing on final harvest preparations instead.
    We still hold some hope for a 12th June farmgate opening, and possibly online from 7th if new online store and alternative delivery arrangements to AusPost are completed.
  • ✔mid-JUNE to 27th SEPTEMBER: Harvest season was severely impacted by lockdowns and travel restrictions. , opening 3 weekends.
    The Winter was too warm which exact start/finish is always determined by winter weather... see 2019 description below

Following very early frosts, the 2021 season actually commenced in late May 2021 with "early-truffles" that were worth eating.
However the peak season of truffle quality, started post Winter-Solstice as usual, running through July & August,
with reducing harvest volume throughout September and a final harvest 26/9/21

We conducted some successful experiments with truffle preservation in 2020, and intend to develop some genuine truffle products after this 2021 Winter season.
Currently a variety of grades of snap-frozen truffle are available, for a new round of education on how to use (frozen) truffle... it's as easy as any other truffle cooking, and works better in some dishes, whereas others only suit fresh.

27/9/21 At the end of season, and economy breaker v6... 75% of our farmgate sales season has been affected... again.

3/8/21 As expected, two waves of economy breakers v4, v5 have already severely affected the season, further driving the necessity to develop some products for year-round marketing.
A yearly income cannot be achieved amidst repeated lockdowns, hospitality restrictions, and further impacted by reducing levels of public confidence.
Our thanks to those that continue to #supportlocal, and the few hospitality venues that realise something special like local truffle is just what their customers deserve.


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.