Loblollies and truffles — match made in heaven?

“On a frosty February morning in North Carolina’s Piedmont region [near Burlington], the enterprising trio who has finally broken America’s strange truffle curse walks beneath orderly rows of loblolly pine, trying very hard not to step on the precious nuggets beneath their feet….

“For the past two years, I’ve been hunting truffles around the world for a forthcoming book. I’ve followed some very muddy dogs through medieval Italian landscapes in the dead of night. I’ve dug black truffles in the arid oak plantations of the Spanish highlands. I’ve watched deals go down in Hungarian parking lots. I’ve seen stupendous truffle patches. But I’ve never seen a patch as productive as the one in these pines — especially not in America, where truffle farming has been a 20-year train wreck….”

— From “Has the American-Grown Truffle Finally Broken Through?” by Rowan Jacobsen in Smithsonian magazine (June)

A decade ago North Carolina’s fledgling truffle growers found a different way to make national headlines.

 

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