Cheraw Chronicle

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New Zealand’s black gold

The first black perigold truffles (Tuber melanosporum) were discovered in 2015, and now Colin and Maureen Binns supply restaurants and hunt for truffles during harvest.

“You’re always worried about how many truffles you’re going to have and what quality you’re going to get,” says Maureen. “Two years ago the smell was wonderful, last year the aroma was not strong. It depends on the climate, how much rain and how cold the season is. We can’t change it, we can do it, I can try. I get nervous if I worry too much, but I’m not going to worry because truffles I know there are, and we have a good dog that will find them.

The couple previously hired a touring truffle dog service to find ripe truffles, but decided it would be best to train their own dog to check their truffles more often.

Their own truffle dog on the spot proved invaluable: Jed found truffles every day without relying on someone else to check on his dog from time to time.

According to the NZTA, black perigold truffles thrive best on sites with highly permeable soils, preferably clay soils with no more than 30 percent clay. They require a soil pH of 7.5 or higher, rainfall of around 700mm and sunny conditions with plenty of sunlight to form an open, sunny forest floor.


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