With the annual Canberra Truffle Festival and a vast array of truffle events – these intoxicating black fungi have become an important part of winter life in the Capital. Driving along the Majura Parkway, one might spot the oak and hazelnut trees that line the paddocks of The Truffle Farm. Director Jayson Mesmen wants to produce truffles that Canberrans can be proud of, involving the public and growing Canberra’s already flourishing truffle industry. “It’s astonishing the support we’ve had from tourism. During winter, people usually stay indoors so it’s exciting to see people wanting to come out and participate. It’s an exciting time for the farm and the industry,” he says.
Hosting regular public truffle hunts with his gang of Labradors and truffle pigs, Jayson also has the opportunity to educate people about how to use this fantastic local product. “Having access to the public, we’re able to educate people about purchasing and price point, so they’re not so intimidated. We show people how to use $50 worth of truffle and get 6 or 7 meals out of it.” Jason also hopes to develop the Canberra industry through direct contact with chefs. “Canberra food is taking off in a big way. Chefs come to us and pick the truffles they like. We collaborate for truffle dinners – I’ll go along too and give a talk. It’s exciting to see what the chefs are doing, they’re really bringing their own, original and exciting ideas to the table, and the patrons love it.”
Jayson also recognises the growing demand for Australian truffles internationally, which are now being recognised for their consistently-high quality. “The demand in Europe for Australian truffles is massive. It’s their off season when we’re producing. You’ll now see Australian truffles in Europe and the US advertised on menus; the industry is really growing here and we’re being recognised. It’s exciting.” With plans to expand the farm and to set up a larger venue space – The Truffle Farm hopes to become a hub of Canberra’s truffle culture, a place that people can learn more about and participate in this fungi phenomenon.