Ultimate Guide on How to Grow Truffles in the USA

Truffles are very rare mushrooms and they need some particular conditions to grow in. If you live in the USA and want to grow truffles, you will need to purchase mycelium and prepare a nutrient medium in which the mushrooms will be grown. Let’s dive into the recommendations for truffle growing.

Where can you find truffles in the US? In the USA, Burgundy truffles (summer truffles) and Perigord black truffles are common. You can find truffles in the forests of California, Washington, North and South Carolina, Idaho, Oregon, and Virginia. As for white truffles, white truffles in the USA grow in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. 

Ultimate Guide on How to Grow Truffles in the USA

Can you grow truffles in the US? Yes, the climate in the USA allows you to grow truffles. There are big opportunities for truffle growing in the USA with California, North and South Carolina, Oregon, Idaho, and Virginia being the primary places for truffle growing. In the USA, you can grow truffles either in a greenhouse or a forest.

Since truffles go bad quickly, you will have an advantage over European truffles because you will be able to sell them to restaurants faster and they will remain fresh.

But while France and Italy may be rich in truffle history, U.S. growers do have one big advantage: Chefs prize freshness, and a U.S. truffle can go from the ground to a chef’s kitchen in a day or overnight, where a European truffle may take days, losing its scent. [USAtoday.com]

How to Start a Truffle Farm in the USA

How do you start a truffle farm in the USA? To start a truffle farm, you will need to purchase mycelium and prepare a nutrient medium in which the mushrooms will be grown. The nutrient medium should have the soil from deciduous forests, leaves, a nutrient solution with nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium fertilizers, and fresh oak wood. 

Truffles are very “capricious” mushrooms and they only grow in specific conditions. The nutrient medium should consist of the following components:

  • The top layer of the soil should be from a deciduous forest together with the leaves;
  • A nutrient solution should contain nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium fertilizers;
  • Fresh oak wood should be processed into shavings or sawdust.

After you have bought mycelium, prepared the nutrient medium, and made a greenhouse, you can start the growing process.

Growing Truffles At Home: Growing Truffles Without Trees

How to grow a truffle at home? After you have prepared the soil, it must be sieved to exclude stones and saturate with oxygen. Check the acidity of the nutrient medium — it should not be less than 7.5 Рh. Put a layer of oak sawdust onto the prepared truffle beds. Mix the mycelium with a small amount of soil, and treat it with nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium fertilizers.  Leave truffles to germinate for a month. Maintain moderate moisture in the soil and remove weeds that interfere with the normal growth of fungi.

How long does it take to grow truffles? The first truffle harvest will be insignificant since it takes at least a year for the normal growth of the mycelium. At this stage, many mushroom growers become discouraged and stop growing truffles. Normally, it takes 3-4 years to get a decent truffle harvest. 

How to Grow Truffles Under Oak Trees

Truffle grows best under oak trees, so if you want to grow truffles under a tree, opt for an oak. Some people even plant oak forests to create the best conditions for truffles. Before they plant trees for the forest, they infect the roots with truffle mycelium. The truffle is closely intertwined with tree roots and takes essential nutrients from them. Such a partnership is beneficial to both, since the mushroom takes the carbohydrates, amino acids, and trace elements it needs from the tree, and gives back phosphorus and minerals.

How do you grow truffles under oak trees? Plant oak seedlings infected with mycelium at a distance of 4-5 meters. To prevent the mycelium from dying, do not fertilize the soil. To prevent the growth of weeds, treat the soil with ammonium glufosinate. To reliably protect the truffle from wind, frost, and pests, the planting depth should be 60-75 cm. Before planting, pour a little water to moisten the soil. 

There are certain conditions for choosing a location for growing truffles under oak trees: if the area is located above 1000 meters and below 100 meters relative to sea level, then it will not work. The optimal areas are those located within 400-600 meters above sea level.  It is necessary to determine whether the topsoil, which is the most fertile, is washed away under the influence of rain, wind, meltwater. The depth of the fertile layer should be at least 10-15 cm.

Check the acidity of the soil. Put a litmus paper in the soil. If it turns blue, then the soil is suitable for growing truffles. The terrain must be flat. The climate should not be very humid, since the rains during the ripening of mushrooms have a bad effect on them. It should not be very hot in the summer, the optimum temperature is 18-22 degrees.

The fact that the mushrooms have grown and you can start collecting them will be indicated by the presence of small hills on the ground. The height of the tree under which these mushrooms are grown should not exceed 100-120 cm.

The main pests for truffles are pigs and hares. Insects such as black cockroaches and weevils can also be harmful. So you need to make sure you treat the soil against pests.

A ripe truffle has a bright earthy smell with a nutty flavor. If the mushrooms are not yet ripe, they will have a reddish tint. How do you harvest truffles? Dig up the truffles by hand using a spatula, but this must be done carefully and carefully to cause minimal damage to the mycelium.

How to Inoculate Truffles?

Where to buy truffle mycelium? It is necessary to purchase mycelium only in specialized stores and from trusted sellers. To inoculate one seedling with mycelium, approximately 150 grams of fresh or 100 grams of dry mycelium are required. Its cost will be in the range of 20-30$, but it all depends on the supplier and quality.

It will be easier to inoculate the root system of a tree with spores of the fungus. But the probability that the mycelium will take root well is small. Therefore, the root system of the seedlings is usually treated with a substrate with mycelium. For this, oak and walnut are best suited. When using the latter, you can get a double benefit. Saplings are taken with a height of 30-50 cm and are infected with spores of French black, summer, or Chinese truffles.

For inoculation, the roots of trees are treated with a mixture of peat and a liquid substrate of mycelium. Then the trees are quarantined for 2 weeks. After that, the seedlings are placed in the ground, the final overgrowth of the roots by the mycelium occurs after 11-12 months.

Trees are fed with complex NPK fertilizer. You also need to add a small number of micronutrient fertilizers – iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, and boron. According to this scheme, it is possible to grow hazel inoculated with truffle mycelium.

The edible part of truffles is the spore-containing fruit bodies of the mushrooms. They are up to 20 cm underground and can weigh from 500 g to 1.2 kg. Sometimes fruit bodies can rot, then they lose their market value. To prevent damage to the truffles, the surface of the soil should be sprinkled with sand. Flies are an indicator of the presence of truffles close to the surface.

Growing Truffles As a Business

If you decide to do this business, and you have the opportunity to wait for 3-4 years, then you can get a good profit. Up to 10-15 kg of truffles can be harvested from one hectare. There are usually no problems with sales; elite restaurants buy this product with pleasure. If the quality of the products meets all the standards, then you can find a buyer abroad.

A truffle grown under artificial conditions will cost less. You can sell a kilogram of mushrooms for about $ 500. This is a costly and long-term business, as it takes several years to wait for the first harvest, but it is interesting and profitable.

Even though this is a very expensive business and it will take several years to get the first profit, it is profitable and interesting. The high cost of truffles allows you to quickly recoup costs. If you want to sell your truffles at a higher price, you need to obtain quality certificates for them.

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