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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fall Updates in the Truffle Orchard

 Busyness at Keep Your Fork Farm has taken on a whole new meaning in the past couple of months.  Let's see.  Where shall I begin?


The beauties you see in the picture to the right are the holly oaks out there on the deck drinking up our fabulous soaking rain right now in preparation for planting in the next 2 or 3 weeks.  They have weathered our summer just great, hardened off as the days have shortened and the nights have cooled and now, they're ready to go in the ground!  In fact, I can see them reaching for it.  They will join the trees in the picture below.  Leaves turning golden on the filbert trees will soon be falling off.  Then the pruning begins.  Those trees need about half their branches pruned out.  I'm glad there are only 50 of them to prune.  

So, you ask, what's all the busyness about?  Well, that lovely group in the picture to my left are the Marketing Team from Whole Foods Market in Winston-Salem.  They visited the farm following my demo in the store just to see what truffle farming is really all about.  We had a great visit.  Thanks for coming out!  Team Winston-Salem really rocks!

So, then, it was on to the Whole Foods Market North Raleigh where I was cooking with my BFF Sherry and we cooked up truly remarkable mushrooms with truffle butter and she shared this recipe that was nothing short of amazing.  Wish I had some right now!  


Gently heat some truffle butter, chop shiitake mushrooms, mix 'em together and salt with truffle salt.  Add a little cream if you want it more saucey.  You're on your own with quantities.  Get creative!  Serve it over pasta -- literally to die for........

From there, I was on to the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Expo and the NC Department of Agriculture Pavilion where yours truly spent 2 days literally buttering them up.  Got to be NC offers great opportunities for exposure like this.  I appreciate you, guys.

My neighbors at the expo were the "Muscadine Ladies" from Lu-Mil Vineyards and D'Vine Foods. (They have great cabins for retreats, y'all)  
They really know how to put on a show!!
Thanks to Denise and Karla for keeping me entertained and juiced!

Well, I know that wasn't a lot of news about truffle growing, folks, but sometimes I have to do other things to raise the money to pay for maintenance and upkeep in the orchards.  I think it's about time for those truffles to start paying for themselves.  What do you think?  15 years in the truffle farming venture and I'm still having to keep a day job to support my farm habit.  Maybe this will be the year that puts me back in the black!

Nevertheless, I'm beginning to think about the truffle dinner possibilities for February and March.  Stay tuned for that or email me if you just can't wait.  Seats will be limited.

Oh well,

'til next time

Think Truffles!!


Jane




  







Thursday, June 25, 2015

Black Winter Truffling in the Summertime


Summer around here is HOT!  Hotter than usual this year and I'm looking forward to getting some relief.  Rain has been very scarce as well.  We've had some afternoon showers accompanied by thunder storms (which Dazy hates!) but not enough rain to keep the pond full.  Oh well, it's good and deep.
Wild blackberries are plentiful by the pond along with poison ivy and briars which I so seriously detest I have grudgingly succumbed to Roundup to get rid of some of it -- poison ivy and briars, not the berries.  I was out there this morning spraying the stuff.  I only use it sparingly and carefully and rarely in the orchard, just around the edges where nuisances occur.
 .

I visited John and Pat Martin and their 2 wonderful truffle dogs, golden labs with that sweet lab personality.  Such good dogs.  Of course, we had truffle sauce for our chicken.  It's not every day I get to share my truffle juice with fellow trufflers.

After a most enjoyable and informative week-end at Virginia Truffles, they gifted me with a baker's dozen Quercus Ilex (Holly Oaks)   I won't be planting these guys until it cools off a bit.  I'll just keep them watered and check their roots occasionally to make sure they aren't getting too crowded in their pots.  I know they'd be much happier in the ground but, it's just too HOT and DRY for little ones.

Aren't they pretty little trees?

If you haven't been to Culpepper, Virginia, I highly recommend it for a week-end trip.  Great shopping and restaurants and some very interesting and quaint places to stay and it's close to the Martins' place in Rixeyville.

On July 12 from 1-5 PM, we will have the only free and open to the public tour at Keep Your Fork Farm for the year.  It will be one of 5 farms in the Northern Triad Farm Tour for 2015.  Please check it out and let me know if you're coming.  I really like to connect with my readers in person.  I do appreciate you all, With 36,000 views and counting, I'm wondering how many of you have ventured into your own plantings since the blog began.

Don't forget to watch for Dazy and me in the August issue of Our State Magazine!

Think Truffles!


Jane (aka Truffle Lady)










Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Trouble with Truffles

WGHP Fox 8's Bob Buckley visited the farm a few weeks ago.  Bob is an Emmy Award winning journalist and really captured our current situation.  Here's the scoop

Stay tuned.  There's more news coming.  Hint:  Watch for Our State Magazine in August.



In a few weeks. I'll be planting 10-15 more inoculated trees -- Holly oaks -- from Virginia Truffle.

With that done, the orchard will be poised for furthering the research project.  It will contain Filberts from the original planting with trees supplied by Garland Truffles, Chinkapin oaks from New World Truffiere in Oregon and Holly oaks from Virginia Truffle in (where else?) Virginia!!  All inoculated and at various stages of maturity and potential. 

Some would-be/wanna-be truffle farmer really should come see the unlimited potential this project affords.  Where are you?  Visit via the link or come in person OR both!  This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime if you are really serious about your truffle aspirations.  There's no time like the present.  Bring your entrepreneurial style!


That's all for now.

Think Truffles!


Jane

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Black Truffle Farm Opportunity Expands -- New Trees in the Ground!!

Transition is the name of the game here at Keep Your Fork Farm.  Out with the old and in with the new!


BIG Turtle -- Found for the first time on Wednesday! Beautiful!




Clearing away the old trees making room for the new ones

Neighbors, friends and hired hands -- all hard working -- have pitched in to assist with the operation.  We have removed approximately 250 severely diseased trees (EFB) and successfully replaced them with Chinkapin Oaks (Quercus Muhlenbergi).  What we have essentially done is to re-forest the 3 acres which were originally planted with hazelnut trees with a much larger tree and lots fewer of them.  It will take years to see the fruits of our labor with these trees but I am not giving up!  Thanks to Charles Lefevere at  New World Truffiere for supplying these beautiful seedlings!  This time, instead of removing the old trees, I left them in place so the remaining truffle mycelium around those old roots could HOPEFULLY assist the new.  It's all a work in progress                                        .
A precious new oak soaking up the wonderful gentle rain today





Another little beauty with the old one's remains just behind it.  Link up you guys!

Removed trees being dragged down to the open center of the field for burning.









If you're new to my blog, here's a little refresher in the history.  In April of 2011, we pulled out the original orchard (planted in 2000) because of disease and replaced those trees with a new assortment of blight resistant filbert (hazelnut) and English Oak trees provided by Garland Truffles.  One variety of the oaks didn't make it so I planted lavender in all the open spots.  I was thrilled to see the lavender come back to life as the trees leafed out this spring.  And --all those trees look gorgeous!!  Truffles this winter, Maybe??

Back to the weeding...................

















'Til next time,

 THINK TRUFFLES EVERYONE!

Jane






Friday, March 6, 2015

Truffle Season is Over for Another Year

This past truffle season has been very hard here at Keep Your Fork Farm.  If you are not my Facebook Friend, you have not seen the sad news posted there.  Because mourning is a process, I'll share the news here as I deal with the devastating loss of my constant companion and truffle hunter extraordinaire,
 Friday Smith

Our love for this beautiful dog (inside and out) runs very deep.  He loved this place and enjoyed his life here as much as we enjoyed having him be a part of it.  He hunted every truffle, greeted every visitor, walked the woods, played catch and sat on the couch with me every day. Kidney disease, (the effects of which were multiplied and complicated by his being hit by a car) took him away much too soon.

I'm grateful to have his sidekick, Dazy, still here to keep me company and hunt truffles.  Dazy's a good truffle dog.  She's working through missing him in her own way, too.

Another year has passed with no truffles from our orchards.  That did not surprise me.  It is almost time to replace the #2 orchard.  When the weather clears, we'll get to it.  We have had a couple of significant snows  and some really bitter cold.  My farmer gene continues to believe that next year will be better.

The Asheville Truffle Experience was successful.  We will pick the dates for next year soon.  I'll be in touch about that.

The Heart of the Community Dinner went well.  We raised almost $3,000 for The Children's Law Center representing children living in homes with domestic violence.  More work with them in the near term.

I retired from my position as Executive Director of the North American Truffle Growers' Association.  I leave them with a really great slate of officers in charge.  If you want to apply for the position, let me know.

The farm is still for sale but I am not anxious to leave.  Until the right buyer comes along, I'll be right here.

Thanks for being with me on the truffle journey.

As always,
Think Truffles!!

Jane