BURIED TREASURE: One of the black truffles found at The Folly Farm.
BURIED TREASURE: One of the black truffles found at The Folly Farm.

Farmers aim for QLD-first after ‘black gold’ discovery

'BLACK gold' is buried beneath the French oak trees of the Egerton family farm, after 10 long years of hard work and perseverance.

The world's most valued black truffle, the Perigord truffle or the Tuber melanosporum, is seldom seen in Queensland, despite its high price and increasing popularity among Australian growers.

Ben Egerton, together with his parents Judy and Michael, and partner Maple, spent over a decade preparing their land at Ballandean for this moment.

"Just this year we started to find some (black truffles), and we've dug up a couple of kilograms so far," Mr Egerton said.

"It's all new for us, so we don't know how long the season will go for, but it's very exciting!"

 

The trees at the Egerton family farm were planted around four years ago, and have only just started to produce black truffles.
The trees at the Egerton family farm were planted around four years ago, and have only just started to produce black truffles.

According to Truffle Price Tracker, the rarity of this species of truffle pushes the average price up around $3258 per kilogram.

The largest truffle the family has found thus far weighed in at around 270g, and was sold to a restaurant in Ashgrove in Brisbane.

"It sold before it was even out of the ground," Mr Egerton said, adding his prized funghi would also end up on the plates of the Barrel Room restaurant at Ballandean Estate.

The nation typically produces around 15 tonnes per year, predominantly from the Southern Forests region of Pemberton, Northcliffe and Walpole in Western Australia.

The Egertons hope the 'Folly Farm' will become the first commercial truffle farm in Queensland and with 500 trees planted, they're well on their way.

"It's early on, so we're hoping each year we see a larger yield," Mr Egerton said.

In the meantime, the family is training Bull Arab and Jack Russell dogs to do the dirty work and sniff out the treats, with talks of offering a tourism experience in the future.