The truffle forms during summer, grows in size through autumn and is harvested in winter when it has matured. The majority of truffles grown in Australia are the French black, or Perigord truffle grown in the cooler parts of Australia. The estimated production of truffles in Australia is 13,000kg with production slated to exceed 20,000kg by 2020. Truffles are harvested manually after trained dogs detect the strong perfume they emit at maturity.
Australian truffle production has benefited from being able to supply fresh truffles during the northern hemisphere off-season.
Facts and Figures
- The main commercial truffle grown in Australia is the French black or Perigord truffle
- The main producers of high-quality truffles are France, Italy, Spain and Australia
- Truffles are the fruiting body of mycorrhizal fungi and form on the roots of oak and hazelnut trees that have been inoculated with the fungi
- Starting with inoculated tree stock usually yields the first truffles four to seven years after planting with maximum yields at around 12-15 years
- To locate truffles for harvesting, trained dogs are used to detect the intense aroma emitted by the truffle at maturity
- The Australian Truffle Growers Association is the industry body in Australia
There are an estimated 200 to 300 truffières (truffle orchards) established across the cooler parts of Australia. About 50-60 of these were producing truffles. Land under truffle production in Australia grew from 250 hectares in 2007 to approximately 600 hectares in 2012.
Truffières are found in all states and territories across Australia except the Northern Territory. Commercially producing truffières are located mainly in the Central and Southern Highlands and Southern Tableland regions of New South Wales, northern Tasmania, the central highlands and Gippsland regions of Victoria and the Manjimup region of Western Australia. However, there are truffières located as far north as Queensland but commercial viability has not been established in these locations.