Truffles in Spain

Spain produces around 35% of world black truffle (Tuber melanosporum – trufa negra) output. Some 10,000 people are involved as harvesters.

The Socioeconomic Impact of Truffle Cultivation in Rural Spain. Commercial black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) plantations have been promoted in Europe with the intention of benefiting rural economies while conserving biodiversity through the expansion of oak woodlands. In this context, a socioeconomic study was conducted around the town of Sarrión in eastern Spain, where government subsidies have supported oak reforestation and truffle cultivation in unproductive hilly areas since 1987. Currently there are about 4,500 ha of truffle orchards in the surrounding county and 530 members in the local truffle association, which has provided a key forum for truffle cultivators to share technical, financial and administrative experiences. Structured interviews were carried out in 2002 with a number of orchard owners, as well as representatives of financial and governmental institutions. Truffles, which are harvested using trained dogs, typically fetch local cultivators average prices of 220–670 EUR/kg, although retail prices of high-quality specimens may reach twice this amount. In addition to the direct economic impact, an increase in local land prices was also documented, as well as a tendency for continued expansion of truffle orchards, and thus oak reforestation. In conclusion, the promotion of truffle cultivation through autonomous community and provincial government subsidies, in conjunction with support by local banks, a dedicated local truffle association, and growing interest on behalf of local farmers, seems to have achieved the mutual goals of biodiversity conservation and improving the rural economy in this region of Spain.

Nicholas Lander on the frontier of truffle hunting in Spain – excellent article. Let me take you straight to a truffle market. It is Friday night in the town of Morella, a small, walled town on the barren sierras of central Spain east of Zaragoza. As we have travelled here from the coast the countryside has grown more and more inhospitable. The orange and lemon groves down at sea level, together with the posters of golfers in short-sleeved shirts, have given way initially to groves of almond trees. Then, as the narrow road climbs and winds, the soil has become even poorer and more windswept and the landscape is broken only by dry stone walls, reminiscent of northern Scotland. But, most importantly for truffle hunters, truffle lovers and chefs worldwide, the hilltops are now covered by that magical combination of oak trees, which nurture the truffles underground, and sheep which fertilise the topsoil.

Micofora R+D Products and Technologies for Mycorrhiza,  Wild Mushroom and  Truffle Farming. “Truffle price depends on the quality of the truffle season. Demand adjusts to the typical models where high productions lead to lower prices. Black Truffle prices at harvester are around 200-850€/kg. A little bit less than half this quantity for the winter truffle. Summer truffle is paid to the harvester between 35-80 €/kg. There are now in Spain 20-25 canneries that export most of our black truffle to France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and The USA. The inner consumption of black truffle in Spain is really low. There’s a lot of work to do in their promotion and attach importance to our truffles.”

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