Meander Valley Gazette

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Treasures from the soil

BusinessJoanne Eisemann
Len Mackenzie and his ‘black gold’ – truffles harvested at Needles in the Meander Valley.  Photo by Mike Moores

Len Mackenzie and his ‘black gold’ – truffles harvested at Needles in the Meander Valley.

Photo by Mike Moores

By Wai Lin Coultas

TRUFFLES OF Tasmania at Needles is Australia’s second largest truffle farm with 22,000 oak trees spread over 50 hectares.

Winter truffle season runs from late May until mid to late August, when fresh truffles are available. Year-round, the shop offers aromatic snap-frozen truffles, freeze dried granules, truffle powder, and their very own truffle pepperberry salt.

Culinary inspiration is found in The Truffle Cookbook by Rodney Dunn of The Agrarian Kitchen in New Norfolk, who includes the truffles on his menu.

There is an on-site tasting room and a shop that stocks everything from Italian-made stainless steel truffle slicers, clothing emblazoned with Truffles of Tasmania’s logo and truffle puppy soft toys.

Len Mackenzie, the farm’s owner, says ‘If you have come for a tour of the farm, we can take you out, meet the dogs and watch them work, and find a couple of truffles in the ground.’ During summer, demonstrations are organized by hiding harvested truffles or other objects for the dogs to sniff out.

Larger groups that book truffle hunts and tours in advance get a big food platter of seasonal local produce including truffle cheeses, venison, 41° South salmon, honeys and fresh raspberries.

There has been a constant flow of visitors to the farm, locals and overseas.

Launceston TAFE cooking school have brought students to the farm to learn about truffle growing and their culinary uses. ‘We offer this as a pro bono to experience, learn and taste what some students would be financially challenged to achieve in their own right now,’ added Len.

Tasting sessions and farm tours can be booked by calling 0400 067 093. You can drop by to shop or to pick up an order placed on trufflesoftasmania.com.au.