Truffles bare heads

Many of us prefer sunshine but truffle connoisseurs relish the winter months.

And Manjimup's Truffle and Wine Company expects this year to be a bumper season for the exotic fungi.

Gavin Booth, who runs the farm where the first WA truffle was grown 10 years ago, said his crop was already visible above the ground.

"We had to cover them," he said. "The season doesn't start for another few weeks so the truffles aren't ready."

Apart from soil quality, truffle dogs were crucial.

"It takes about three years to train a dog to find a perfect truffle," Mr Booth said.

"You get a puppy, start training it at 12 months and the dog is four years old before it is proficient."

At up to $3000/kg, it is little wonder the truffle is called black gold. Mr Booth said it was the third most expensive thing to eat and about the most expensive to grow.

Manjimup was emerging as a leader in production, rivalling France and Spain.

The West Australian

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