The View Royal Gardening Club is hosting a presentation on wild and cultivated truffles in B.C. (Facebook/Wild & Cultivated Truffles BC)

Fungi expert gives tips on finding truffles on Vancouver Island

There are many native and cultivated species of the pricey, and delicious, mushroom on the Island

Truffles enthusiasts can look forward to more tips and facts from a fungi expert.

Shannon Berch is a retired researcher specializing in mycology, the study of fungi, and she makes a presentation with the View Royal Garden Club on Feb. 27 to share how she thinks the province is littered with native truffles – they just need to be discovered.

“We don’t have a tradition here of having a mycologist, or someone who has studied the truffles for many years as they do in Europe, so we really didn’t know much about what kinds of truffles we have here,” Berch said. “However, now that we have some good trained truffle dogs, they’re out in the woods finding them. I suspect we’ll have hundreds [of species]… The dogs have just revolutionized truffles.”

READ MORE: Giant mushroom find makes Thanksgiving tastier for B.C. couple

While pigs are a classic animal used to sniff out truffles, in B.C. there’s been a recent uptake to training truffle dogs to trace the odour of the mushrooms, which grow underground around the roots of trees. Different species of truffles will grow around different trees, and while there are many different species there are only three or four native species that are particularly palatable to humans. However, no truffles species that scientists are aware of are toxic to humans, Berch said.

ALSO READ: Deadly mushroom spotted in Greater Victoria

Truffles come with a hefty price tag due to the fact that they’re hard to grow and hard to find.

Cultivated Perigord truffles, for example, come in around $2 per gram, or $2,000 per kilogram.

Truffles are cultivated on three farms across B.C., where Mediterranean truffles (including Perigord) are grown by cultivating them at the roots of orchard trees, typically hazelnuts trees.

While the Italian pure breed dog Lagotto Romagnolo is the most famous for hunting truffles, Berch said any breed has potential.

READ MORE: Disease control warns mushroom pickers against death cap

“The truth is any dog can find truffles, but Lagottos have a romantic attachment to them,” Berch said. “They can be superb… but the first excellent truffle dog in B.C. was Dexter, and he’s a puggle.”

At the end of the day, Berch hopes more people and their dogs can get out into the woods and discover truffles.

“In terms of biodiversity we’re quite ignorant of the fungi we have in the province,” Berch said “The more people out there foraging, the more we’ll find.”

Berch will present at the Esquimalt United Church on Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The presentation is free to members of the View Royal Garden Club, and $5 for non-members.

For more information, you can visit the Wild and Cultivated Truffles of B.C. event’s Facebook page.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Sixty Sooke homes needed to host Japanese students

Homestay program offers visitors a taste of life in Canada

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation looks to grow funding for memory garden

Foundation will start new campaign next month as it wraps up recruitment campaign

Survey says 27% of Victoria employers look to hire this quarter

Another 13 % of employers anticipate cutbacks

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Most Read