‘A JEWEL IN THE CROWN OF THE GENUINELY SOUTHERN FORESTS BRAND’
29 July 2015
The tonnage and reputation of the truffle industry in the Southern Forests region of Western Australia continues to grow with this year’s harvest expected to reach eight tonnes.
Mark Horwood, chairman of Truffle Producers Western Australia, says local producers are reporting record production. It is believed that some 200 hectares are planted with hazelnut and oak trees (with truffles growing in the earth below) in the Manjimup area.
“The maturation of trees, coupled with improved farming practices, will see this year’s harvest reach close to eight tonnes – up by 40% year-on-year over the past few years,” Mr Horwood said.
“The export income from the truffle industry in Western Australia is likely to reach $10 million this year.” Truffles can retail up to $3,000 per kilo internationally. Farmgate prices vary between $1,000 and $1,500 per kilo, depending on size and quality.
A number of truffle growers are members of the Southern Forests Food Council (SFFC). The SFFC promotes the Genuinely Southern Forests brand – representing the region’s clean, green, premium quality produce.
SFFC chairperson, Bevan Eatts, said “our truffle industry was a real regional success story”.
“The truffle industry employs a large number of local people and it is a jewel in the crown that is the Genuinely Southern Forests brand,” said Mr Eatts.
“What is really exciting is the industry is still in its infancy and has further potential to grow, with expectations the truffle harvest could be 30 tonnes by 2030.”
“Importantly, much of the early experimental work – developing orchards to suit local conditions – was done by Al Blakers, of Manjimup Truffles, and the whole region has benefited from his expertise and skill as a nurseryman.”
The SFFC is supported by the Government of Western Australia’s Department of Regional Development, Royalties for Regions and the Shire of Manjimup. The Southern Forests region includes the towns of Manjimup, Pemberton, Northcliffe and Walpole. The truffle industry is just one of many producer groups the SFFC supports.
To celebrate the start of the season, the Truffle Kerfuffle festival was held in Manjimup last month. It was attended by about 3,000 truffle enthusiasts from around Australia and the world.
SFFC Media Contact: Bevan Eatts, Chair, +61 (0)419 811 823