For the last twelve months everything has been wrong for truffle production. A long, long, hot summer with virtually no rain followed by a soaking wet start to winter did not bode well. Florent Nonon, who runs the Gers Trufficulteurs Association, thought that a hunt was a bit of a waste of time but as we had missed out last year I was desperate to have a cavage in 2023. So when he felt that the soil had dried out a little Florent brought his Lagotto, Ouma, to do her bit. She had a few minor digs but then got quite excited and I really thought she had found something but we dug pretty deeply in her chosen location but failed to find a truffle. And that was the nearest we came. There were though two positives. Just on the edge of the new truffiÃ�Â¨re, where we have a number of trees that were cloned from a major truffle-producing tree rather than being grown from seed, there was a massive scrape made by sangliers who clearly felt that there were truffles around. Second, almost everywhere we dug, we found mycelium. In Florent's own words presence de mycelium peut effectivement representer une bonne nouvelle.
While we hunted I was able to learn more about truffles in Le Gers. To be honest it was all far from encouraging. Several hundred truffières have been created in our Departement but only a tiny percentage (of which we are one) have so far produced truffles. Florent believes that the reason lies in the clay. While clay is extremely important for truffle production he feels that we actually have too much clay here and it is too solid. He believes that the Gers soil is more suited to the Summer Truffle than the Winter Truffle which we have planted. The demand for the Summer Truffle has increased hugely. Twenty years ago it was dismissed as only suitable for training truffle hounds but now it fetches quite a high price and is seen as much more desirable. Florent plans to return with Ouma in May/June to seek Tuber aestivum. He even suggested that we should consider reseeding part of the truffière with Summer Truffle spores.
You can find photos of our hunt on the Newsletters page and a video of Ouma in action below and on our YouTube channel.
Ouma Digging 3rd February 2020
Truffle Tree Youtube Channel