Ganymede was bought impulsively (with little – read not any – homework) one afternoon in 2005 when galvanised into action in a violent and contrary response to an architect’s wildly excessive renovation estimate, Land in the Country was purchased instead.
Before any building began over 3000 native trees were planted and this has become an ongoing project. The increased birds, frogs and wildlife that emerged from this are spectacular and a never ending source of fascination (but I’m digressing as this has absolutely nothing to do with truffles!!)
The truffle journey began as I was searching for an alternative to cattle.
I had quickly fallen in love with their large, melty eyes and sad whenever they went to market. One of our cows from our very first herd remains with us, her ear tag marked DNEM (Do Not Eat Me). I should add I do eat and enjoy meat. I just don’t like the process they endure to get to my plate.
A number of non-killing ideas were researched and ruled out for various reasons; Alpacas, wasabi, and garlic were contemplated and rejected. Then happily we came upon truffles!
Ganymede is located in New South Wales in the Southern Tablelands just outside Marulan with the name chosen after a course in astronomy at the Sydney Observatory.
With infertile, rocky soil, regular frosts and a climate ranging from as low as -7.8 to 36 degrees (using 2015 figures) we are, it turns out, ideally situated for growing truffles. The frosts are in fact a critical factor. The more frost truffles experience, the more intense their perfume.
The first trufferie was planted in 2009. In a leap of faith, we planted a second in 2011. Altogether we have just under 900 trees on 2.5 hectares. Both trufferies are planted with 2 types of oaks – English (Quercus Robur) and Holly (Quercus Ilex) – together with hazelnut trees. Our first truffle was harvested in 2012 and since then Ganymede’s production has grown steadily.
The truffle harvest takes place each year from the beginning of June to the start of September and locating them has all the flavour and excitement of a treasure hunt.
In 2014 we established a fledgling honey production with the addition of beehives, but again I’m wandering off point!
PS: We still have cattle and more importantly, DNEM ….