Grant Award: $6,000
John and Megan are diversifying their third generation family farm with the addition of a one-acre truffle orchard. They prepared the site, amended the soil, installed an irrigation system and planted 120 inoculated English Oak saplings this past spring.
After a monitoring period of up to five years, the trees start to produce a small amount of truffles. Mature production begins at ten years and lasts for up to 50 years. John and Megan are planting 80 to 100 oak trees per acre with the hopes that the smaller density of trees per acre will promote air circulation and allow sunlight to reach the base of the trees, creating a healthy orchard environment.
This project is a way for John to keep intact his family’s farm, which stayed afloat with the production of tobacco from 1975 to 1997.
“Farming our land enables us to build a life in the community where I was raised,” John said. “Through agriculture, we can work toward bettering our community and ensuring that we have something that is ours—that we cannot only be proud of, but also give to our children.”
John plans to sell truffles to restaurants, through Internet sales, and at agritourism events on his land, such as guided hunts with trained dogs that sniff out the truffles.