THE WOODFORD NEWS no. 2 2012-08-12
We thought we should let everyone know that things at Woodford Truffles continue to progress well and that in the last year or two a number of farsighted people, from all over the country, have bought into Woodford’s Joint-Venture.
There can be no doubt that Trufflemania has hit South Africa.
With computers, the Internet and E-mail, the world has shrunk completely, truffle growing in the Southern Hemisphere is definitely not an unknown business. New Zealand, Australia, Chile, are already harvesting good crops under conditions identical to those we have in our country, and locally Woodford Truffles, under the enthusiastic guidance of Volker Miros and his team, who have studied the subject extensively for more than ten years, and invested millions of Rands in putting Woodford Truffles into production on their farm Groenfontein in the Kouebokkeveld, are perhaps only a year or two from their first harvest.
We can be sure of this because in his usual thorough way Volker Miros has on board as advisors, Dr. Ian Hall, mycologist in New Zealand’s truffle growing industry and creator of a truffle grower’s bible, Professor Alesandra Zambonelli, professor of mycology at Bologna University in Italy, co-author of the truffle bible, and who visit us regularly to assess Woodford Truffles’ progress, as well as that of all the partners orchards who have bought into the Joint-Venture.
I was privileged to be present during their most recent visit late last year, when, in Woodford’s laboratory at Groenfontein, they inspected the mycorrhizal development on roots taken from the Groenfontein orchards. Groenfontein management could not help but be very impressed and excited by their ecstatic reports; “The best I’ve ever seen” was Professor Zambonelli’s delighted comment.
This just goes to prove that if you follow the rules, progress is ongoing and one can look forward to a bumper crop when the time comes.
The knowledge is available, and just as when one plants apples or pears, if you follow the rules, if your land is in the correct temperature zone, and you prepare the soil, and provide enough water, there “WILL” be truffles.
The demand for truffles gets greater all the time, Woodford Truffles have been told by overseas buyers, over and over again, that they will take everything that South Africa can produce.
Meanwhile it’s a fact that now, and for the foreseeable future, there is a worldwide market waiting to pay top dollar for whatever we produce.
It’s just fortuitous that we in this country are gearing up for truffle production at this particular juncture, but rest assured that there has never been a better time to be in the truffle business.
An interesting recent development for Woodford Truffles has been the acquisition of our first truffle dogs. Trevor Norris, a well known animal trainer working in the film business, was brought onboard a year or so ago to train up specially bred dogs to sniff out and harvest truffles. Early last year, Woodford sent Trevor and his wife Marda, to Italy to witness truffle dogs at work, and to be introduced to the long established training methods in use in Europe. As you probably know, in the old days pigs were used for the harvesting of truffles, and very good they were too at finding them. However the pigs always wanted to eat the truffles, and sometimes in the ensuing scuffle the pig handlers would lose a couple of fingers, so they eventually changed to dogs. Groenfontein has “two” to begin with, and as they will be Truffle Hunters, it has been decided to call them Bonnie and Clyde. They are still puppies so it will be a while before we see results but we will keep you posted as to their progress.
Well that’s all for now,
All the very best,
Gary Haselau, for Woodford Truffles.