Oregon’s Emerging Truffle Boom
In the rarified world of truffles, Oregon is known as the premier center of research and expertise outside of Europe. A lineage of eminent scientists has maintained that standing for almost a century, and continues to hold it to this day. Oregon is also blessed with an abundance of wild truffles with culinary qualities equal to those of Europe, and as with French grapes, Oregon has the perfect climate for cultivation of the renowned French truffles. As the ultimate culinary delicacies, truffles are emblematic of the good life in every region where they grow, and in Oregon they are complemented by our wealth of other wild and cultivated gourmet foods, outstanding Oregon wines, and an increasing number of extraordinarily talented and award winning chefs.
Despite Oregon’s long history of truffle research, its truffle industry is young and undiscovered. The few sources for wild truffles are avidly sought and jealously protected by harvesters who sell the truffles quietly here and there throughout the country. Secrecy pervades the world of truffles and is a part of their mystique, but it has not served Oregon’s truffles well, as secrecy precludes development of the knowledge necessary to bring the real potential of the Oregon truffles to market. Simple details like how to choose and handle a truffle to tease out its grandeur are known to only a few harvesters and chefs. As a result, Oregon truffles have not received the recognition that those who have experienced their essential magnificence know they deserve.
“Who ever says truffle, pronounces a great word, which awakens erotic and gourmand ideas both in the sex dressed in petticoats and in the bearded portion of humanity.” J. A. Brillat-Savarin, 1825
Some of us in Oregon’s nascent truffle industry decided we needed to celebrate our native truffles as the delicacies they are, at the same time ground is broken for growing a domestic supply of the illustrious French and Italian truffles. Our scientific tradition, our wealth of native truffles, and the advancement of technology and science around cultivating the European truffles have reached a confluence in Oregon, placing us at the forefront of the burgeoning truffle industry in North America. To learn more about the Oregon Truffle industry and its relevance and role in the establishment of the North American industry, read our USDA funded feasibility study at www.oregontruffles.org. The best way to experience this phenomenon is to attend the Oregon Truffle Festival – designed to support those interested in establishing successful truffieres, while celebrating the Oregon truffles’ earthy elegance.
OREGON HAS WORLD-CLASS NATIVE TRUFFLES
The secret is out: the same growing conditions that make Oregon wines the New World’s answer to Burgundy are also ideal for truffles that are the gustatory equals to those found in France and Italy.
On the culinary level, star chefs have become enchanted with Oregon truffles as a unique local ingredient that adds powerful new flavor to Pacific Northwest cuisine. At the educational level, mycologists at Oregon State University in Corvallis are world renowned for their expertise in truffles. It’s no surprise that Oregon is the epicenter of research, cultivation, and the culinary use of domestic truffles.
OREGON TRUFFLES ARE
Crowd-Pleasers: From farmers to entrepreneurs, chefs to scientists, dog-trainers to vintners, the festival attendees are diverse and wild about Oregon truffles.
The Genuine Article: Festival events include authentic, hands-on foraging expeditions in which participants hunt with trained dogs, collect truffles using sustainable methods, learn the secrets of cooking with truffles, and then enjoy their culinary alchemy in the hands of renowned local, regional and national chefs.
An Emerging Industry with Huge Economic Potential: Oregon Truffles may have humble origins, growing nestled in the roots and loam of Oregon’s forests, but as a treasured and rare ingredient, they are becoming Oregon’s most sought-after culinary commodity.