The discovery of a black truffle on Cameron Anderson’s plantation of 500 oak trees near Dullstroom in Mpumalanga province has ended a nervous 9 year wait for his attempts at growing black truffles to succeed.
Anderson's black truffle has been confirmed as authentic by agricultural scientist, Neil van Rij who put the truffle under a microscope and conducted a DNA analysis before shipping it off to Italy for a second opinion.
The black truffle is a rare and expensive delicacy, that grows underground on the roots of oak trees and can only be sniffed out by trained dogs or pigs.
Anderson trained his nine-year-old weimaraner, Shammy, how to sniff out truffles using truffle oil. He was surprised and elated when one day Shammy was sniffing pointedly at the root of one of the oak trees in the orchard and he was able to dig up a tuber melanosporum (black truffle).
Bruce Whitfield spoke to Anderson who sheepishly admitted that after finding the "truffle and a bit more" one of them was eaten.
Technically it was a bit more than just a signle one (truffle) but not much more than a single one, well look .. one of them got eaten and I don't wanna sicken myself by doing the calculations (how much it was worth).— Fernbank Farm Manager, Cameron Anderson
Photo: The black truffle.
The historic black truffle (a little damaged because Anderson did not know quite how to look after it properly) has given him "high hopes that it will go somewhere".
Speaking on 702, Mushroom Researcher van Rij says that the discovery of this truffle is a particularly momentous occasion and agreed that 10 years from now South Africa could have a lucrative truffle industry.
Listen to Bruce's conversation with farmer, Cameron Anderson and Mushroom Researcher, Neil van Rij below: