Nose to the ground, Dante races through the hazelnut orchard. The fluffy Lagotta Romagnolo is trained to search for truffles – a pungent mushroom that expert dogs can sniff out 100 yards away.
After a few minutes, Dante beelines toward a tree and scratches at its base. Pat Long rushes over, flicks out his pocketknife and starts digging. He unearths a gumball-sized Perigord truffle, named for the region where they were first commercially cultivated in France.
More than 5,000 miles away in the Willamette Valley, the Corvallis veterinarian is growing the famous – and famously expensive — mushrooms. This one is perfectly ripe.