Southern Cross Truffles (SCT) is mad about truffles – which are edible fruits of fungi that grow in association with tree roots. They are a fascinating and delicious luxury food, steeped in history. The truffle industry in New Zealand is about 20 years old. Significant quantities have been produced that have continuously achieved prices in excess of NZ $3000/kg.
We offer a complete and integrated package of services; consultancy services in establishing and managing your own truffiere; truffle-infected seedlings for sale; access to trained truffle dogs to sniff the truffle out; a channel to market your truffles; and if you have a taste for luxury food, an opportunity to buy fresh Perigord black truffle in the winter months of New Zealand.
Based near Christchurch, but providing services nationwide, we invite you to step out on an exciting and rewarding journey by becoming involved with an industry that has a great future potential.
Southern Cross Truffles now has 3 blocks under full management. All at differing stages of development I thought is would be interesting to some to see what we are up to for our spring work...
Claremont Truffle Block
Southern Cross Truffles have had another busy spring pruning this year getting ontop of the older trees that have been left to get a little too big. Pruning is now complete after a combination of chainsaw, loppers, secateurs and the professionals with the heave artilary! Sunlight is now flooding into the site and the trees are getting their spring foliage on them.
For the first time the trees have been big enough to allow us to let several hundred sheep to graze in the block. By doing this we can put off spraying for a little longer as well as being a natural (and free) way to increase the soil nutrients.
In the last few weeks we have competed mowing as well as spraying so am feeling like I have earnt my labour day weekend away.
Port Levy Truffle Block
After completing the planting of 2200 trees in Autumn the spring jobs for the Port Levy truffle block are running a little behind schedule. After a very wet winter with the creek flooding more than expected, we have had no access to the site and it has delayed when we would have liked to sprayed there. Finally after the help of a handy digger driver we not only have access to the site again but also have our tanks placed at the top of the hill ready for completion of the irrigation installation.
So hopefully the weather will play game and I can complete spraying quickly, mow and finish punching in 2200 sprinklers this November.
Kings Road Truffle Block
Site preparation has started for the future truffle block in Waipara. Again I have had the assistance of very usefull digger driver, this time to clean out old fallen willows. This has cleared out a lot of damns that created flooding over the past winter. It will also allow more sunlight to penetrate the site and create bigger headlands for turning when I am let loose on the tractor in spring. If this didn't create big enough burning heaps already we also removed eight large poplars from the boundary of the property. Poplars roots can reach up to 30-50m in search of water and we did not want this to compromise the irrigation of the truffle trees. It also had the benefit of allowing more sunlight to penetrate the site. Though it feels like a lot of work now it will save us having to dodge irrigation and trees in the years to come, something that machinery operators appreciate and works out more cost effective in the long run.
I have now mown and will be able to spray out problem weeds in the next few weeks. So the site looks like something is going to be happening here now.
Recent Truffle Books
With a few stormy, cold nights lately I have been busy on Amazon finding some good truffle book buys. It can sometimes be a bit hard to find a decent read, and though I have not completed it yet, I am finding my latest purchase a very worthwhile one. Mycelium Running – How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, Paul Stamets 2005 has been a very good companion to a cup of tea on cold, windy evenings. One extract that I particularly like;
"Since European truffles like basic (high pH) soil, the addition of calcium dimishes competition from native mushrooms, but this alone will not assure success. In New Zealand, where the reportoire of competing mycorrhizae is limited to just a few species, inoculated trees are likely to do better than in regions in North America that are resplendent with hundreds of competing mycorrhizal varieties." Page 28
I also found a new truffle recipy book which I will start sharing a few recipies in future newsletters and on our website in a few months time, ready for the winter season. So watch this space!
Want to receive the monthly newsletter above? Make sure to sign up today!