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oregon-truffles-diamonds-in-the-dirt-0113-mOf all the world’s culinary delicacies, truffles stand out as the ultimate luxury food. With the advent of technology to control the symbiosis between truffles and the roots of their host trees, truffles have at last entered the realm of agriculture.

On February 28, a time when they reach their peak of musky perfection, the first Périgord black truffle or Tuber melanosporum was harvested* near Corvallis, Oregon in a two-acre orchard of inoculated hazelnut trees supplied by  Dr. Charles Lefevre, owner of New World Truffières, Inc. based in Eugene, OR.

Because of the price Périgord black truffles fetch on the market ( up to $1500/lb.) the orchard owner chooses to remain anonymous until security arrangements are made around the site.

This initial success comes despite naysayers claiming that Western Oregon is too wet for cultivation of Périgord truffles. Microscopic analysis by Dr. Lefevre shows spore morphology consistent with Tuber melanosporum. DNA analysis will be conducted at Oregon State University for verification.

With retail prices reaching Périgord truffles can be a very lucrative crop. And while cultivation of Périgord truffles remains a new and promising industry for American farmers, annual truffle commerce is expected to exceed $6 billion within the next two decades, rivaling many other agricultural commodities traded worldwide.

* Kris Jacobson and her Belgian Malinois, Ilsa of Umami Truffle Dogs in Veneta, Oregon were the first  to dig out the truffle.