April 9th, 2012
Who Wants to be a Truffle Hunter?
Posted by Francesca
Truffles, those mushrooms that grow underground, are one of Martha’s favorite delicacies. In fact, she wants to plant a grove of the special trees that truffles grow beneath, so that she will have her own supply. Last week, she asked Franklin Garland, of Garland Truffles, to come to the farm to help her decide where the trees should be planted. Franklin pioneered truffle growing in the Western Hemisphere and was very informative.
1 Hey G.K.! Sharkey! Are you paying attention? Franklin Garland is here to talk to Martha about growing truffles on the farm!
2 Franklin says you have to plant young filbert or English oak trees inoculated with the fungus that creates truffles and after five years, we can start looking for our own truffles among the tree roots.
3 You know what this means?
4 Martha's going to need a truffle sniffing dog! So, G.K., who do you think it's going to be?
5 Oh Francesca, you don't really think that Martha is going to have one of us do it, do you? I don't think it's as easy as you think!
6 But didn't you see the slide presentation Franklin just gave to Martha?
7 Franklin has a lemon beagle named Peedee that he trained to sniff out truffles! Why, certainly one of us can do that!
8 Some of those truffles are huge and can fetch around $50 an ounce! We could be millionaires in no time!
9 Francesca, while I appreciate your enthusiasm, I, for one, don't think I'm cut out for that line of work! Let me tell you what I know.
10 A truffle is an underground mushroom with unique taste and aroma that is sought after by many gourmands. This truffle was found in the hills of Spoleto, Italy.
11 For a long time, pigs were used exclusively to hunt for truffles due to their keen sense of smell and innate ability find them. Truffles contain a compound similar to a sex pheromone found in boar saliva, which female pigs are attracted to.
12 But pigs often eat the truffles right after finding them, so more and more truffle hunters have specially trained dogs, like this one, to sniff them out.
13 Unlike pigs who are naturally drawn towards truffles, dogs must be trained to find them. They often scratch or dig to indicate where a truffle might be.
14 Dogs aren't interested in eating truffles the way that pigs are, and if you reward them sufficiently, they'll just sniff for more truffles!
15 Francesca, I'm not trying to discourage you from your truffle hunting dreams, but a dog must be willing to spend a great deal of time getting rather dirty! What do you think about all of this, Sharkey?
16 I think you two are both silly to worry about this now! Didn't you hear that truffles take at least 5 years to begin growing! Now let me sleep!
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