Frequently Asked Questions
QuestionWhich species of tree should I choose?
AnswerI have always loved the evergreen Holm Oak, (Quercus ilex), and have planted one in most of my gardens. I have seen a suggestion that they produce truffles on average a little sooner than the Downy Oak, though at the level of a single tree that is probably completely insignificant.
QuestionDo I have to bring my own pig for harvesting?

AnswerNo. There are a number of harvesting possibilities. First I hope Valeta and Polka will turn into excellent truffle hounds. If not then I may buy a ready-trained dog. Third a neighbour just a couple of hundred metres away is a pig farmer. We can go up there with a piece of truffle and borrow the piglet that shows most interest. Fourth truffle dogs are available to rent by the day. Fifth it is possible to locate truffles by the presence of the truffle fly around the brûlés. And finally prototype machines are around which find truffles by detecting the very specific mix of gases they give off when ripe. And if a truffle does escape detection you can console yourself with the fact that you have left millions of spores to produce an even bigger crop next year.

QuestionWhat if my tree dies?
Answer As long as your care and maintenance payments are up to date we will either replace the tree in the same plot with another of as similar an age as possible or offer you another plot with an equivalent tree.
QuestionAre credit card payments completely safe?
AnswerYes. When you elect to pay by credit card you will be connected via a secure server direct to WorldPay, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland. No-one at Truffle Tree will have access to your card data.
QuestionWhat happens if I don't pay my care and maintenance charge?
AnswerYou will receive plenty of e-mail reminders.  One just before it falls due and one towards the end of the month in which it is payable.  Around the middle of the following month you will receive a final warning that your failure to pay indicates to us that you to not wish to continue your adoption and that if we are wrong please contact us at once.  If this elicits no response your adoption will be terminated and a notice to that effect sent by snail-mail to your last known address.  When you receive this you will still have a few days to make payment and request that your adoption be re-activated.  Failing this your tree will be put up for adoption again.  It is critical therefore that you let us know of e-mail and postal address changes.  But please don't take your C&M payments down to the wire.  Every hour I spend sending dunning e-mails (and it's all done manually) is an hour I can't be in the truffière caring for your tree.  AND if your tree dies while you are in arrears there is no free replacement!
QuestionWhy were there no newsletters in 2007?
AnswerAround May 2007 it became clear that many e-mails I was sending were either not getting through to the recipient at all or were being delivered to a spam bin which many users never check.  The labelling of e-mails as spam is a highly computerised process and humans play little part in it.  Spam is defined as bulk, unsolicited e-mailing.  Now my e-mails may sometimes be bulk as newsletters go out to many hundreds of people but they were never unsolicited!  However, the computers who classified my e-mails as spam wouldn't talk and the people who owned them said woolly things like "The IP that was blocked was in a range that was identified as consistently sending low volumes of high known spam/unknown ratios, thus exhibiting the characteristics of a compromised block of IPs or a deliberate installation for abusive and illegal purposes."  (AT&T)  What the hell does that mean?  I even managed finally to speak (by e-mail) to Steve Linford, the founder and boss of Spamhaus, who assured me absolutely that my newsletters were not spam.  But it didn't stop my e-mails from being blocked.  My big fear, and longer-term tree owners will know that it is not paranoia, was that my website would be shut down.  So I stopped newsletters, for which I apologise.  From now on you will find newsletters posted on the site and can download them whenever you want.  In addition I have added a blog so that news will be completely up to date.
QuestionWhen is the best time to visit my tree?
AnswerIt rather depends on your interests. If you want to visit a truffle market or go skiing during your stay here then come in Winter. The truffle and ski seasons start in early December; truffles continue until early March while skiing comes to an end in mid April. If your interests are musical then come in mid July for Country & Western or the first half of August for Jazz in Marciac. Otherwise perhaps it’s best to avoid July and August, our busy period, though it would hardly be called busy anywhere else than in Le Gers.