Welcome to the Australian Truffle Growers Association website. Truffle growing has now been established in Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.

This website is structured to provide a general information base for any interested viewer and includes additional information that increases the value of membership of the Association.

2014 Australian Truffle Growers AGM and Conference details and bookings now online.

 

Conference registration is now open

26 – 28 September, Launceston, Tasmania

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Following on from the successful conference held in 2013 at Mittagong, New South Wales last year — this year’s conference is to be held in the beautiful city of Launceston, Tasmania.

The annual conference, including the AGM, is on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th September, with two pre-conference workshops scheduled for Friday 26th, and two days of farm-tour consultancies, occurring in South East Victoria, on Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th of September.

 

 

 

IMG_2919The venue for the conference is the well-known Tramsheds, which provides several large rooms, and an auditorium. It is within 10 minutes walking distance to a range of hotels in Launceston, and we will also be providing a shuttle bus to do pickups at local hotels for those who prefer not to drive.

Because many of us do not get the opportunity to visit Tasmania often, we have included several optional outings in the conference schedule. This includes a 1 1/2 hour river boat cruise up the Cataract Gorge on the Friday afternoon, a gourmet 3-course BBQ meal on the Friday evening at The Boathouse Restaurant (which is right on the banks of the Tamar River), a gala conference dinner at the award winning Josef Chromy Restaurant, and a casual post-conference dinner Tasmania’s 2013 best Asian restaurant at Me Wah Cantonese restaurant. Your participation in any of these is optional.

marcosKeynote speakers: We have two significant keynote speakers who we feel will really add value to the conference and bring new perspectives and information to all attending. The first is well-known Spanish truffle scientist and consultant Marcos Morcillo, who will be on the panel for the Friday workshops on 26 September, will also be doing an on-farm workshop on Day 2 of the conference, and a pre-conference tour to a number of Victorian farms. Marcos is a very well known truffle expert in Europe, and has published books that detail the key fundamentals of truffle farming (unfortunately in Spanish). He also has a blog regarding truffle farming at www.trufflefarming.wordpress.com.

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Our second keynote speaker is Greg Bonito, who is a mycologist from Duke University in the US and the co-editor of Edible Ectomychorrhizal Mushrooms: Current Knowledge and Future Prospects (Springer), a comprehensive book on truffles.

Greg is based at the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens for the next 2 years, and we are thrilled that he will be able to share some of his knowledge with us.

 

Pre-Conference Farm Tours on 23 & 24 September

bio bagsBased on the popularity and success of the farm tours done in the Mittagong region, we are again going to be doing farm tours and consultations as part of this year’s conference.  The tours will be done with consultation by Marcos Morcillo. A bus will be hired with space for 24 people to travel to 3 different farms and observe, listen and learn as advice and consultation is given to each truffle farmer. The pre-conference farm tour schedule is:

Tuesday 23 September:  Shannon Bennett’s truffiere at Burnham Beeches: Chef Bennett’s Vue de monde group is perhaps Australia’s largest single user of truffles. Truffle features in the group’s various restaurants across most of the year. Just over 3 years ago, truffle trees were planted at Burnham Beeches, near Sherbrooke in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges, as part of the multi-million dollar redevelopment of the property. And last month, the first Tuber Melanosporum was discovered.

On this farm tour, join Marcos Morcillo,  in a visit to the truffiere and this historic property. Marcos will lead a walk through the truffiere with Burnham Beeches hosts Rob Proudlock and Tim Shannon, who are responsible for the truffiere and the extensive kitchen garden and farm operation. Lunch will follow at the Piggery Café and Bakery, along with ongoing discussion about the truffiere’s development. Lunch will include a charcuterie platter; a chicken platter; halve sandwiches; a selection of salads and a selection of deserts. Any special dietary requirements need to be advised in advance.

Mini-bus transport from the Melbourne CBD is included. Numbers for this technical tour and luncheon are strictly limited to 24 guests to ensure that everyone can be involved in the discussions. CBD pickup will be at 9.30 AM from the Adina Apartment Hotel foyer at 88 Flinders Street Melbourne, returning at 4.30 PM. Cost for ATGA Members is $90. Non-members is $110.

Wednesday 24 September:  2 successful Victorian boutique truffieres: Yarra Valley Truffles and Black Cat Truffles are 2 successful boutique truffieres and both had had a very successful 2014 season – both are productive truffieres and although small in scale, both have a big impact locally. International expert Marcos Morcillo will be on the visit to these 2 truffieres. First we visit Yarra Valley Truffles near Woori Yallock and meet Stuart Dunbar and his dogs Bear and apprentice Lani. Stuart will describe his 2014 season and future prospects. A picturesque drive to the Macedon-Daylesfrod region follows, with a stop for lunch (lunch not included), and then we meet Lynette and Andres Haas, our hosts at Black Cat. Lynette and Andres produce Tuber Melanosporum and also the Summer Truffle Tuber Aestivum. Following a walk through their plantation, further technical discussion will follow regarding sound development principles for successful boutique production.

Mini-bus transport from the Melbourne CBD is included. CBD pickup will be at 8.30 AM from the Adina Apartment Hotel foyer at 88 Flinders Street Melbourne, returning at 5.30 PM. Numbers for this technical tour and luncheon are strictly limited to 24 guests to ensure that everyone can be involved in the discussions. Cost for ATGA Members is $90 and for non-members is $110.

Friday 26 September – Pre-conference Workshops

Workshop #1: 9am – 12pm   Should I grow truffles?  

Panel: Marcos Morcillo, Greg Bonito, Nick Malajczuk, Colin Carter, Peter Brown, Gavin Booth. Chair: Nigel Wood

This workshop is for those considering entering the truffle industry as growers and has 2 main components – growing and then selling truffles. It details basic information on establishing and managing a truffiere, how truffles grow and what is required to commercially grow them in terms of location, site preparation, infrastructure, tree choices, seedling certification and management regime, as well as an overview on the cost and high risk involved. The workshop then covers issues around marketing and sales for fresh truffles and explores some of the challenges in marketing truffles in Australia and internationally.

This workshop is for new people considering entering the truffle industry. It details basic information on truffles, how they grow, what is required to commercially grow them in terms of location, site preparation, infrastructure, tree choices, seedling certification, as well as an overview on the cost and risk involved. Cost is $100 for members, and $150 for non-members. Morning tea and lunch are included.

Workshop #2: 1pm – 4pm Truffiere rescue

Panel: Marcos Morcillo, Greg Bonito, Nick Malajczuk, Colin Carter, Peter Brown, Gavin Booth. Chair: Nigel Wood

This workshop is for those who already have trees in the ground (a young or old farm), but are unsure if they have truffles growing, how to get more production, or if it is worth investing further money into the venture. The workshop will include basic soil pH tests and review of farm root samples, problem solving and basic management techniques. The workshop is focussed on providing useful information for those who already have a truffiere or who may be contemplating acquiring one. Due to quarantine limitations coming into Tasmania, we will only be able to examine soil and root samples from within Tasmania, as transportation of soil and roots from the mainland to Tasmania is prohibited.

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Friday Social activities

Tamar River Cruise, 4.30pm – 6pm

Seems crazy to visit this beautiful region and not enjoy the local sites. We have included an optional boat cruise up the Cataract Gorge, which will be a private charter of the boat, taking us right up into the gorge and then finally dropping us off at our dinner venue, The Boathouse on Northbank.

The Cruise cost is only $25 per person, with drinks available for purchase on board. There is a capacity for 60 passengers, and obviously any partners who travel to Launceston but don’t attend the conference itself are very welcome to this cruise and other social activities.

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Casual dinner at the Boathouse Restaurant.

Also as an optional event, right by the river, this licensed bistro/bar is making a gourmet 3 course BBQ dinner available for conference guests, at $35 per head. With spectacular views and plans for dinner speakers and more, this is a perfect pre-conference catch-up and networking opportunity.

 

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Saturday 27 September – Annual General Meeting and National Conference

Starting with conference registration at 8am, the Annual General Meeting will be held from 9am – 10.30am.

The National conference welcoming address is at 11am, and we open with keynote presentations by Marcos Morcillo and Greg Bonito.

The first session after lunch is entitled ALL ABOUT THE SCIENCE. Presenters include Peter Stahle, Professor Garry Lee, Professor Ranganathan and Ainsley Seago. Topics will include the formation of the R&D Steering Committee & new 5 year R&D plan, E nose and subsequent developments, update on genome research and CSIRO Truffle bug research.

The second session is entitled AUSTRALIAN TRUFFLE NEWS and will give details on the newly formed WA association, the inaugural Truffles Melbourne, and the continued growth of the Truffle Festival of the Capital region.

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GALA CONFERENCE DINNER

We are pleased to be holding our gala conference dinner at Josef Chromy, one of the Top 10 Cellar Doors of Australia and winner of Launceston’s Most Outstanding Visitor Experience in 2010 & 2013.

Josef Chromy is located just 10 minutes south of Launceston CBD and is a stunning restaurant overlooking the picturesque lake and vineyard. They showcase the very best in locally sourced regional produce, matched to their award winning wines. Tickets are $85, plus an optional $20 for matching wines with each course. Other drinks will be available for purchase through their bar facilities.

IMG_2954The three course set menu is:

Pre Dinner Drink
Truff n Sky Raimbaud
Sky Whisky I Cane Sugar I Lemon I Truffle Ice

Entree
Thousand year old Quail eggs
Truffled Pumpernickel I Raw Peas and Sprouts I Potato Rouille I Hock & Hock Liquor

Main
Wagyu Short Rib
Braised Celeriac and Shiitake I Edamame I Sour Orange I Truffle preserved in Madeira and Yuzu

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Optional Vegetarian Main Course
Mushroom and Mascarpone Tortellini, Salad of edamame , Broad Beans, Basil and parsley, Truffle beurre blanc

(please advise at time of booking if you require a vegetarian main course)

Dessert
Saki Compressed Melon, Shiraz and truffle sorbet,  Goats curd, Basil variations

 

Sunday 28 September – National Conference Day 2

Our first session is an on-farm workshop and seminar at Needlesdale Truffles, presented by Marcos Morcello and including a walk and talk. Needlesdale is one of the first truffieres in Tasmania, with over 20,000 trees. It is about a 1 hour drive from Launceston.  The workshop will include some hands-on activities relating to Spring pruning, as well as discussion on tree form and key cultivation notes. Buses from the Tramsheds and back are included in the conference pricing.

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simonOur last session is entitled IT IS THE NOSE THAT KNOWS, and we are pleased to have a 1 ½ hour workshop by Simon Harvey, detailing dog handling and basics on training. This will be held on-site at the Tramsheds, on the grassy gardens at the front of the building.

The conference ends at 3.30pm on the Sunday afternoon, so those heading back to the mainland can take evening flights.

For those staying overnight, there is an informal dinner at Tasmania’s best Asian restaurant “Me Wah Cantonese restaurant”, which across the road from Tramsheds Function Centre.

To register for any aspect of the Conference (pre-conference farm tours, workshops, dinners and more), please follow the below links. There are significant discounts for members, so purchase can be made through the public website as a non-member, or you can sign up for membership and then register through the ‘members-section” of the website to realise the discounts.

Costs are:                                                    

Pre-Conference Farm Tour Day #1    — $90  (members)     $110 (non-members)

Pre-Conference Farm Tour Day #2    — $90   (members)    $110 (non-members)

Pre-Conference Workshop #1   — $100    (members)     $150 (non-members)

Pre-Conference Workshop #2   — $100  (members)       $150 (non-members)

Conference Day #1   — $90  (members)      $200 (non-members)

Conference Day #2   — $90  (members)      $200 (non-members)

Cataract Gorge Boat Cruise  — $25

Friday evening Boathouse dinner  — $35

Conference Gala Dinner   — $85

We have increased the membership discounts for conference attendance and workshops. We have always worked hard to make our events informative and good value, we now aim to increase that for our members.

All member bookings can be made on the 2014 AGM booking page

Non-members are also welcome and can book by going to the public website here.

Accommodation options for the conference can be found here.