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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happiest of Possible New Years!

With Christmas behind us and New Year's Eve upon us, what are my truffle-loving friends doing with their time?  Well, they're probably researching truffle recipes, of course, so I thought I'd help out.  Here's one I adapted today from The Dog Who Ate The Truffle.  Lentils are good New Year's Day fare but this will  be good for those cold nights in January and February after the holidays are a distant memory..

Pasta with Lentils and Truffles
The author suggested fresh home made tomato pasta but, myself, short-cut lover that I am, I probably would have to call on an Italian like my new chef friend, Dion,  for fresh home-made pasta like that.  I know that I have seen tomato and spinach pasta in local gourmet grocery stores.  Tonight, I just used the Angel Hair I had on hand.  You're on your own there. Here's what I did tonight and it was goooooooood!!!

1 lb. tiny lentils, preferably tan
6 cups cold water
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra for garnish
3-4 large garlic cloves, sliced
4 slices sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated and chopped fine
2 Tbsp. Black Truffle Butter

Rinse the lentils and put them into a large saucepan.  Add the 6 cups water.  Turn the heat on high and set the timer for 15 minutes -- you will taste for doneness at this point.  (Refer to the pkg. for cooking time, but taste for doneness early.  Most lentils cook within 30-35 minutes, usually less.)
When the lentils boil, immediately reduce the heat as needed to keep the lentils at a gentle simmer.  Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender.  Stir in the kosher salt.
Meanwhile, heat the 1/3 cup oil, red pepper flakes and garlic in a small skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes (do not brown the garlic).  Remove garlic.  When the lentils are done, stir the truffle butter into the oil, add the oil to the lentils.  Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender and flavorful, just a few minutes.

Allow about 2/3 cup of lentils and 2 oz. of pasta -- per serving.

Cook the pasta separately just until al dente.  Save 1 cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta.  Return the pasta to the pot after draining.  Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, lentil mixture and stir to coat the pasta.  Add the reserved cooking liquid by the tablespoon as needed to moisten the pasta (but don't dilute the flavors by adding too much).  Sprinkle each serving with fresh grated Parmesan.  Slice black truffle all over top.  Adjust the salt to taste.   Let stand 30 seconds before serving.

Does this make your mouth water or What?!  The Smith Family enjoyed it immensely!

IMAG0213.jpg


We have set the date for the next Truffles Galore Dinner and it will be February 23. The location is one of my favorite places in Winston-Salem, Beta Verde.  Margaret and Salem Norfleet Neff will host the fundraising dinner and Chef, Susi Gott Seguret, Seasonal School of Culinary Arts will be here to help with the planning and execution.  We have a lot of work to do to get our plans in place but the team is coming together.  It will be a night to remember!  Proceeds will benefit the Cobblestone Market, (501c3) and the Stokes County, NC BackPack Program of Second Harvest Foodbank of Northwest North Carolina.  More information will be coming your way as we gather food donations and volunteers for the evening.  It's not too early to make your reservations.  We will only be able to take 50 reservations and, yes, they are already coming in even though the price hasn't been set yet.  It will be a slightly different event this year and there may be different levels of participation available ranging from $50-$100 per person.  You definitely want to be on the mailing list.  Send me an email to hold your spot(s) as soon as you check your calendar!

This has been a very busy season for us so far and we thank you each and every one for your orders and your support in every way!  May 2013 be the best year yet for us all as we continue to believe that
The Best is Yet to Come!!

Think Truffles!

Jane










Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Truffle Season

After Thanksgiving is past and all the turkey leftovers are gone, I start thinking seriously about hunting for truffles (and, don't we all?)  So, the day after Thanksgiving, Friday and I went out for a little hunt.  He didn't find anything ripe enough for harvest yet but, he was verrrry interested in quite a few locations.  Next, I will take Dazy out and let her give her nose a little workout.  I promise -- just as soon as I turn up the first one -- I'll be on the blog-o-type to let you all know what we find.  Sign up to follow the blog on the right side of this page or get on our email list via the link at the website.

Soon now we will choose a date and place for our annual fundraiser dinner so please stay tuned. 


Just to give myself a break in between orchard work and truffle product making,  I thought I'd share a recipe from a book I recently enjoyed written by Suzanne Carreriro.  She spent a lot of time in Umbria, Italy and shared several recipes with truffles among her experiences.  I hope you enoy this one.

Crostini with Mushroom-Truffle Pâté
(Crostini con funghi e tartufi

1 baguette (not sourdough), cut into ¼ inch thick slices
3 Tbsp. plus 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, peeled, and halved
1 pound mushrooms, quartered or sliced
1 tsp. plus ¼ tsp. kosher salt (important: kosher salt has about half the sodium of other salt. Use all salt with caution starting with half the amount recommended) (taken from the book mentioned below)
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup packed Italian parsley
1-2 ounces fresh summer black truffles* (Use more if your budget allows)
Note:  To substitute dehydrated summer truffles* for fresh truffles, use a 10 gram jar, which equals about 1 oz. of rehydrated truffles (soaked in warm water for 1 hour to rehydrate). After soaking and draining, the truffles are ready to use as you would use fresh, sliced truffles (save the soaking water, use 1-2 tsp. in step 4 if the spread is too dry).  To use jarred truffle sauce or truffle oil** (do a taste test, as some oils taste bad) instead of fresh truffles, make Mushroom Pâté and add truffle oil or truffle sauce*** at the end to taste.

  1.  If you are toasting the bread, preheat the oven to 350.  Arrange the bread slices side by side on a large baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted, 10-12 minutes.  Set aside. (If you prefer not to toast the bread (as do cooks in Umbria) , set it aside until step 5)
  2. In a skillet large enough to hold all of the mushrooms, heat 3 Tbsp. of the oil with 4 halves of garlic over medium-low heat for about 30 seconds.  Add the mushrooms, the 1 tsp. kosher salt, and a dash of pepper; sauté 1 minute, tossing to coat the mushrooms wit the oil.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and cook ½ minute; remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, gently scrub the fresh truffles with a vegetable brush under running water to remove dirt.  Grate or thinly slice the truffles.  Heat the remaining Tbsp. of oil with the remaining 2 garlic halves in a small pan over low heat for 1-2 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the truffles and remaining ¼ tsp. kosher salt.  Let stand 10 minutes, discard the garlic.
  4. Put the truffle oil mixture and mushrooms into a food processor; process, scraping the sides with a rubber spatula as needed, until very finely minced, almost puréed.  If necessary, add a tsp. of water or additional oil to moisten the spread.  Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Just before serving, spread the warm or chilled pâté on bread or toast.  Serve open-faced on a platter.

Yield: About 1 ½ cups (enough to top 35-40 baguette slices)
*My personal preference is to use the black winter truffle
**ALL truffle oil (unless you or someone you know made it in your own kitchen) is flavored. Beware
***The only truffle sauces I have been able to find on the market are made much the same way as this recipe suggests, with mostly mushrooms and a little truffle added.

Taken from page 318
The Dog Who Ate the Truffle by Suzanne Carreiro

You should read this book if you are a travel and/or food enthusiast.  She writes in a very informative style and includes lots of wonderful recipes (more of which you will find on these pages soon.)


The Dog Who Ate the Truffle: A Memoir of Stories and Recipes from Umbria




As you move toward holiday gatherings and plan the treats for your friends and guests, please think of us.  We are working really hard to provide a local alternative to imported truffle goodies and are very proud of what we have accomplished so far.  Whatever you buy for whoever you shop for (including yourself)
Think Truffles!!

Truffle Presents for All



Jane




Thursday, November 15, 2012

So, Where in the World has TrufflesNC been?


After hearing about a Truffle Festival in Napa, I had to make the trip.  So, here I am.  Lucky for me, my sister lives in California and a little day trip from her house to Napa was in the cards for me yesterday.  The weather was gorgeous, the temperature was perfect and me and my little rental Fiat were on our way!

I am really disappointed that there won't be a truffle festival in North Carolina in 2013.  We will have to be content this year with the NATGA meeting which, coincidentally, will be the same week-end as the Napa Truffle Festival.  I personally wish we could all get together so we didn't have this kind of overlap and we could all enjoy all the truffle offerings of this type but, it's hard to get everyone on the same page.  So much opportunity, so little time............

The thing that intrigues me about the truffle festival in Napa is that California is probably the only state outside the southeast that could give us any competition in the growing of this specialty crop.  California definitely competes in the agricultural world.  They grow just about everything there and lots of things that North Carolina doesn't grow, too.  However, most of the people in CA who decide to grow truffles, apparently also grow grapes.  So, I just wanted to see for myself if I could spot a truffle orchard among the vineyards.  Well, No, I didn't.  Any of my blog followers out there who have addresses for truffle orchards or know folks who are actually producing truffles in the beautiful state of California, PLEASE let me know.  I'll make it my next excursion out west.

Some of you may wonder why I have been absent from the blog for so long.  We have been burning the midnight oil getting ready for two food shows, Terra VITA and Twin City Cooks.  Deana and I worked frantically getting our truffles in a row so we could present our products in the most appropriate, tasty and dazzling ways.  It worked!!  You will soon see our holiday offering pictures appear on the website.  Lots of red, white and gold wrappings in shiny clear boxes to make those truffle products most appealing for gifts for all the truffle-loving friends on your gift lists.  In the meantime, go ahead and check out the online store so you'll be familiar with everything.

Soon and very soon now -- surely by Mid-December, if not sooner -- fresh truffles should be appearing as well.  Stay tuned and -- as always,


Think Truffles!!!





Monday, September 17, 2012

More on the Truffle Shuffle

Good Morning Everyone!
Today, we had some fun looking at root samples from young trees and harvest-ready trees as well and we like what we see!  Every sample we looked at under the microscope has lots of little "corn dogs" growing on it.  That is golden!!!

You may remember that we have had our share of trouble with a disease (Eastern Filbert Blight) and it has moved into the big orchard as well.  We have more than a little concern about the way it is affecting our beautiful filbert trees.  It really hurts to see the trees we have worked so hard to maintain have these awful black bumps and splits in the bark.  You don't have to be a scientist to know that it will affect the trees' health and, consequently, the truffle production, adversely.  We have worked especially hard over the past year to prune the affected limbs and let the little "sucker" limbs grow just to keep the trees alive and it appears to be working.  The goal is to keep that fungus alive and well.

As we approach truffle season, remember, if you want to buy fresh truffles, sign up on our the FRESH eList, so you can be notified when we harvest our beautiful truffles.
Jane and Deana posing with their kitchen hats.

The past week has been a lot of fun and work combined.  We (Deana and I) worked in the Beta Verde kitchen making truffle butter and truffled white chocolate.  We agreed that work should be fun.  (We also agreed, no more hats when we're having our picture made.)
Deana also worked with me at the Farmers Market on Saturday.  We're a pretty good team.


Friday keeps asking when he can go to the market again.  I'll have to get him there soon.  He would have so much fun meeting the other dogs and people.  He's such a social animal.

So, next time you're in the Winston-Salem area on a Saturday morning, come to the market.  We always have a good time -- sampling delicious truffle products and telling the truffle story and seeing old friends and making new ones.  I'd go to the market even if I weren't a vendor.

One last thing before I go -- I have to share this recipe with you.  Rick outdid himself and a good recipe is something that should be shared.  This was an original creation and one that we will do again and again.


Stuffed Huge Portabella Mushroom Caps
(Sorry I don't have a picture, you'll have to make it yourself)

INGREDIENTS
  • 5 Very Large Portabellla mushroom caps
  • 5 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • olive oil spray
  • garlic/wine seasoning (We get it from Melting Pot)
  • small onion, chopped
  • 1 roasted red pepper in oil
  • 2-3 pickled artichoke hearts
  • 2 Tbsp. basil pesto
  • 1 medium chopped seeded tomato
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • several sliced pitted kalamata olives
  • Black Winter Truffle Salt (from, guess who)
Directions
Sprinkle the mushroom caps with soy sauce, spray with olive oil, dust with garlic/wine seasoning and cook at 350 for 12 minutes.  Mix together the onion, red pepper, artichoke hearts, pesto, tomato and garlic.  Fill mushroom caps and return to the oven for 4-5 minutes.  Add cheese and broil until cheese melts.  Top with olives, sprinkle with black truffle salt and serve.  Too Good for Words!!!

So, until next time --
Think Truffles!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to All Things Truffle


Truffle orchard and truffle dog
Dazy performs an inspection after
we pruned the trees.
Good Morning!  For those of you who were wondering what's going on at Keep Your Fork Farm, I'll catch you up!  It's been a wonderful and busy summer so far.  The little orchard looks great.  When I get it weeded again, I'll send some pictures but right now, it needs a little attention.  You may remember that we planted European Filberts (blight immune cultivar) and a couple of different varieties of oaks.  Well, only the filberts and downy oaks survived.  The other little oaks bit the dust.  We will not replace them since the downys are looking so healthy.  The trees themselves look great.  It's between the rows where we need some work.  I promise, I'll get to it and then you can see how beautiful the replacement orchard is.  We are setting our intention for having truffles there in 4 -- Yes, I said FOUR -- years and making plans to make that happen.  We will be doing everything in our power and hoping Mother Nature smiles on us just to make that a reality so,  stay tuned.

Pruning -- Removing the small branches (we call them suckers) from every tree so they can breathe more easily.  Fresh air through the tree helps a lot.  Last year, we pruned 400 trees. This year I'm up to my neck in the value-added truffle product business so I'm hiring to get it done.  Whew!!

Right now, I'm writing to you instead of pruning, but I'm also thinking about the market tomorrow.  Have I told you lately how much I love doing the Cobblestone Market at Old Salem?  It is the absolute best.  The magazine, US News Travel voted us the 11th best in the nation and this farmers market is only a year old.   I just wish I could be there during truffle season.  It would be the beginning of the first ever US Truffle Market.  I think that would be way cool.  With so many truffle farmers in our area, we could put North Carolina on the map as the truffle producing center of  North America. Oh, well,  I can dream.

So, more about Cobblestone Market at Old Salem...
We have a producer-only farmers market where you can find the most beautiful produce I've ever seen in the world and you get to talk to the farmer.  It's all farmed sustainably with no pesticides and all that.  Several of the farms are certified organic.  We have music and a beautiful environment with the market located right next to the gardens.  Folks bring their dogs and kids.  It's just a happening place to be on Saturday morning from 9-12.  If you're in the area, come on by!  It's where we sell the truffle butter, salt, honey and truffled white chocolate and we're always sampling something.  If you can't get there, shop the Etsy store.

OK, Next.  If you haven't been to Lucky 32 to enjoy the *Parmesan-Crusted Pork Cutlet 13
with creamy grits topped with truffle butter, you really should.  You have 2 more weeks before Chef Jay changes the menu.
For all you Atlanta folks, our truffle salt is soon to be available at Whole Foods Market, Buckhead. Shop there and ask them "where is the truffle butter, honey and truffled white chocolate?"  Then, when they get all those products in there, I'll come down and demo.  That would be a fun time!!

I think that's all the news from the farm.  I hope you're all having a wonderful summer.  Stay cool and...
Think Truffles!!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

I've opened an Etsy Shop!

To better serve all you gourmands out there, our truffle products are now available on etsy.

Our shop is here

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer in the Truffle Business

Back to the business of posting updates.  I can't believe it's been so long.  Where does the time go? I guess it's really true that time flies when you're having fun and we sure are.

Stop by to see us at Cobblestone Market
at Old Salem.




Firstly, you know we are continually looking for new things to offer and when there aren't truffles to hunt, we have to look for new products to make. The newest product was introduced for sale for the first time at the Cobblestone Market at Old Salem last month and we're having a lot of fun with it -- selling it and eating it, too.  We have formulated the most delicious (and quite possibly ONLY) truffled white chocolate in the world.  

I myself am a dark chocolate person but when you add truffles to white chocolate -- OH MY!  You simply have to try it. It is now available online at our website and at the Cobblestone Market at Old Salem on Saturday mornings from 9-12.  A Fabulous Market!!


Not only is Rick showing up at the market with Friday sometimes (got to keep that dog busy when it's not truffle season, you know), but my youngest son, Jared is helping out too. It is becoming a regular family affair and I love it! Can you tell?

Our friend, Chef Jay Pierce at Lucky 32 used our truffle butter in one of his dishes in the Best Dish competition and WON!!! So, soon you will be able to enjoy it from the menu at Lucky 32 in Greensboro.  Thank you Jay and congratulations!
Oak
Appetizer
Hickory Smoked Farm-Raised Sturgeon with vine-ripened tomatoes, pickled vegetables and basil pesto
Entree
Parmesan-Crusted Pork Cutlet, served with creamy grits topped with truffle butter and summer squash
Dessert
Peaches & Cream: Housemade vanilla custard with wedges of ripe peaches and cinnamon-scented sorghum syrup
You will also find it on the menu occasionally at River Birch Lodge in Winston-Salem.  Call ahead to see if Chef Travis is putting it on the menu that day.

So, you're probably wondering what is going on in the orchards.  The answer is -- Not much.  We haven't even turned on the irrigation system lately.  We have had really good rain and it has just now dried up enough that we will be irrigating tomorrow.  The trees just look absolutely beautiful.  Here are today's pictures of a little oak and a little filbert.  Aren't they great?  
Filbert

They have a few years to go before we can expect any truffles growing under them but they are really off to a good start.  With the ground softened up again with water on, it will be weeding time in that orchard this week.  Don't want the trees to have to share their water supply with the grass and weeds.

Well, I guess that's it for this time.  Don't forget you're welcome to send me your questions via email jane@TrufflesNC.com

Until next time,
Think Truffles!!

Jane





Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring has Sprung and News Notes

It's time to mow, spread lime and till.  The orchards really do look great right now and the truffles should be loving the addition of 8 tons of lime added last week.  We took pH readings all over the field just before lime was added.  It's a little low -- averaged 7 instead of the 7.5+ that we had hoped to find.  Not too sure how we let that happen.  It's not like we haven't been adding hydrated lime every year.  However, the pH meter doesn't lie  -- so we're liming it up!
Aah...The orchard in spring...

Sometime in the next couple of weeks, we will add 1500 pounds or so of hydrated lime and mulch with straw around each tree to help hold the moisture.  Beyond that, we'll be mowing, pruning little shoots by the thousands and watering as needed.  Of course, Rick won't be doing much for a few weeks until his partial knee replacement surgery heals up.  Talk about timing............. :-))

I really enjoyed cooking with Sherry Pedersen-Thrasher and Michael Davis at Whole Foods North Raleigh last week-end. They made delicious Potato Leek Soup and Shrimp and Bay Scallops with angel hair pasta using our truffle butter and truffle salt.  Those folks really know how to cook!  I served up incredible hors d'oeuvres with our truffle honey, fruit and Parmesan cheese and crackers from the specialty shop. Folks also sampled our "in process version" of the truffled white chocolate which will be our next product offering.  Believe me, whether you like white chocolate or not, this stuff will make you swoon!  Wait until you taste it!!! Watch and enjoy Sherry's video. 
 
Recipes for the dishes they made can be found at our website where you can now place retail orders for our current products. Truffled White Chocolate should appear there by June 1st, just in time for Australian Truffle Season.  If you want wholesale prices, fill out our contact form on our website including your company info.

Beginning May 12, I will be participating in a new local farmers market,  Cobblestone at Old Salem on Saturday mornings from 9-12. Come taste with us if you're in the neighborhood.  It will be a producer only market organized by my friends at Beta Verde along with Old Salem and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Please visit us there!

In the meantime, Think Truffles!!

Jane





Monday, March 19, 2012

Truffles NC The Farm and The Foodie Circuit

This weekend, I stayed busy getting ready for the next Flavors of Carolina food show in Raleigh. That's tomorrow.  I'm thinking this will be the last show I do for a while.

Last Friday in Greensboro, I (along with a couple hundred other potential vendors) met with Fresh Market folks and received their introductory packet.  It looks like they are changing up their model to focus more on local.  I'm hoping that all of you will soon be able to purchase all 3 of our truffle products in their stores, at least from RDU to Charlotte.

I'll be busy doing demos at Whole Foods and Weaver Street Markets on weekends for the rest of March and some of April.  Here's the schedule just in case you want to visit:
Whole Foods North Raleigh, March 24 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm  (Their prepared foods area will be offering grilled chicken with truffle butter.  Sounds great!
Whole Foods Durham, March 31 from 1:00 - 4:00
Weaver Street Market - Carrboro, April 7 from 11-2:00
Weaver Street Market - Southern Village, April 14 from 11-2:00
Weaver Street Market - Hillsboro, April 21 from 11-2:00

If you are a fellow North Carolinian, you are enjoying some wonderful weather with us.  I don't remember March ever being this beautiful.  All kinds of trees are beginning to bloom, spring flowers are totally gorgeous and the weather forecast sounds better and better. Can it be true?  Is winter all behind us?  We've had snow storms in April before.  I'm hoping it doesn't happen this year.

I heard the hummingbirds buzzing last week so I knew it was time to put up their feeder. The pansies have perked up a lot with the sunshine and warmth.  The filberts and oaks are budding.  Soon I'll be complaining about weeding and pruning again.  Just be forewarned.  It's also time to spread more lime and do some tilling.  Rick just finished tilling in the new orchard this morning.  I do love most aspects of spring, even though I know it signals lots of work.

The link here for BunkyCooks has a great recipe included. Enjoy!  Gwen Pratesi visited Tennessee Truffles and posted her visit on her blog. I thought you might like to read it.

Ok, everybody -- go enjoy this beautiful day!

Think Truffles!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Truffles NC Food Show Participation - Fun & Furiously Busy!!

If you haven't yet seen the new logo... Here she is!
 

Our table at the Flavors of Carolina Food Show in Charlotte last week.
To be repeated in Raleigh March 20.
I visited with lots of chefs and gourmet grocery buyers who didn't know that we grow truffles and we make value-added products from them all the time. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to broadcast what we've been saying all along to smaller groups and begin to get the word out in a big way.  Maybe we can reach our target market through shows. That's what I'm hoping.  Friday I'll be in Greensboro at an open house for Fresh Market telling them my truffle story.  I do love to tell the story.

I have made some pretty bold statements about our products and I'm going to make them again and again -- just because it's true.  

I am the only person outside of your chef's kitchen making completely and absolutely authentic all-natural truffle products from very simple ingredients: butter, Celtic sea salt and honey.  I would rather close my doors than add flavorings and other "stuff" to our products.  What's the point in selling something that's called "truffle" if it's not the real thing?  I don't believe in doing anything other than educating my customers about what truffles really taste like.  I'm not saying those other products don't taste good, they're just not the real thing. 

OK.  Thanks for letting me rant -- AGAIN.  

If you haven't visited the website lately, please do.  We've made lots of changes and it's really coming together.  Soon folks will be able to buy our products online.  I'm excited about that!!

I'm in the midst of gathering my tribe for food events in Stokes County to raise more money for the BackPack Program.  My goal is to have one food event every quarter -- some truffle related and some simply local foods related -- and offer something for everyone.  I'm doing this in my spare time (ha ha :-)) because the thought of hungry children haunts me.   

Let me know if you want to help.  It's going to take a mountain-sized  (as in Sauratown -- from Pilot Mountain to Hanging Rock) effort to bring this off but, I know it can be done.  My biggest challenge here will be to exercise some patience while it comes together.

Monday, February 27, 2012

4th Annual Truffle Fest -- a good time was had by all


Dr. Shannon Berch with Dr. Trappe and Susi Gott Segur
I hope my friends, Susi Gott Seguret (an amazing chef and accomplished photographer), Dr. Tom Michaels (the biggest producer of black winter perigord truffles in the U.S.), Dr. Jim Trappe (researcher, professor and author of more than 60 books), Dr. Shannon Berch (research consultant from BC) and the guys from PAQ won't mind me hijacking these pictures from Susi's FB page.  I neglected to get pictures of all the folks I wanted to mention here while I was at the festival so I'm having to seek them out.  Dr. Trappe was such an interesting speaker.  He got his funding through a very interesting happenstance Wells Fargo connection.

Tom Michaels, Tennessee Truffles
Who knew that WF execs actually helped the truffle research for North America get started?  I didn't know how closely related my history and theirs were connected until I heard it at the festival. I wish they'd come back and fund some more research.  We need a lot more work to unlock the secrets.  (Most of you probably don't know that I retired from Wachovia prior to the Wells Fargo buy-out.)

Emanuele (the handsome Italian who spoke nearly flawless English) and Ian of PAQ talked about the marketing side of the truffle business and I so appreciated their candor and honesty.  The truffle business is a challenge -- no matter whether you're a grower or a seller.

It wouldn't hurt for every truffle grower and anyone just thinking about joining the truffle fray to spend a little time with  Dr. Shannon Berch.  I really enjoyed her presentation as well.  I learned a lot from all the speakers.

Ian and Emanuele (in the middle) from PAQ Truffles NYC
Go Here For The Full Series
It really pays for truffle growers to take advantage of opportunities like this.  Hearing things I've heard before presented in a different way is always helpful to me.  There's nowhere else in the world I could have gotten the information I was offered in that venue in the way it was presented.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  My only regret is that I couldn't spend the whole weekend there.  Just too much going on in my little corner of the world. Thanks Frankie Lemmon for putting it on.  I look forward to next year.

Before the Festivities began.
Some of you may remember that I said I would post some pictures from the Have a Heart Dinner a couple of weeks ago.  I gave it some thought and realized that without permission from the folks who were photographed, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to put them out here.  However, here's a little taste of what the room looked like.  It was a great party.  We'll do it bigger and better next year.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Truffle Dinner Sold Out - What's Next??

That's how much fun it was.  Rick and I had the best time bringing this group of truffle-loving folks together for a good cause.  We beamed for the next couple of days.  It was a wonderful event and we raised some money for a very worthy cause -- the BackPack Program of the Second Harvest Food Bank for schools in Stokes County.  We will do it again.  Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated -- whether by donation from afar, in spirit or by your attendance.  It was a very soul-satisfying experience -- and the food was indescribably delicious!

As for what's next -- I'm on the road again to the National Truffle Festival in Asheville  for seminars on Friday.  It will be good to see fellow truffle enthusiasts and meet the speakers.  Will you be there?

Then, it's on to planning with Chef John Bobbi for the truffle dinner at Noble's Grille in Winston-Salem on February 29th.  See you there?  

Truffle season is fun -- whether we have truffles in our own orchard or not -- and, this year, we got skunked, literally!

We have seen lots of evidence in the orchard that something has been digging up our treasures and depriving us of the fruits of our labors.  We suspect skunks and have had another truffle grower agree.  We know we have lots of skunks around.  Friday (bless his heart) got skunked right in the face one morning when we went out before daylight to stretch our legs.  Can you imagine getting that close to a skunk?  He still smells faintly like one.
We've had a little snow and it's still laying in the shady places.  The day before the snow, I was in the orchard pruning (I hope for the last time until early fall) AGAIN.  Remember, I told you it is a never-ending chore, but the fresh air was so good I couldn't complain.  Those 60 degree days in February are few and far between ordinarily but this year has been the exception.  How will climate change affect our truffle production?  We will have to wait and see.

Until next time -- Think Truffles!!
Jane

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Truffles Galore!

Here we are in a brand new year with a brand new look for Truffles NC.

We (http://mudfootmarketing.com/http://www.jsinclair.com/and I) spent a few hours in a photo shoot doing "Beauty Shots" with food -- yes, it was all about truffles.  From truffle butter to truffle salt to truffle honey and a lot of the good eats you can use these products in, on and with, it was very interesting and productive.  We put truffle butter on steak, broccoli, bread; added a little truffle salt here and there; drizzled truffle honey on ice cream and croissants, put some in our tea.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

A major upgrade to the website is in process and that's what all the photos are for.  We will be posting new recipes and suggestions, updating information on every page and making it a place where you can buy the products.
I am totally psyched!

In other news, I'm hoping that you will visit this link to read more about a Valentine Benefit Dinner on Saturday, February 11.  Join us if you can. http://www.americantowns.com/nc/king/events/have-a-heart-benefit-dinner-for-your-valentine-and-second-harvest-s-backpack-program-1
There's information on the website, too.  We still have a few seats available.  The menu will include salad, London Broil, Grouper, Pappardelle, Asparagus, Dessert surprise -- All Heavily Truffled.  We'll donate all the proceeds to the BackPack Program for Stokes County Schools.  Come have dinner with us!

Think Truffles!
Jane