In addition to the Black Walnut and Persimmon trees found on Blackberry's 4,200 acres, several fruit and nut trees have been planted. Orchards comprised of cherry, apple and crabapple trees are setting their roots in anticipation of fruit production for decades to come. Muscadine grape vines, blueberry bushes and raspberry and blackberry brambles are growing as well. A hazelnut orchard was planted at the beginning of 2008 as well. This is no ordinary nut orchard, though. While hazelnuts may form when the saplings mature, they are bound to be overshadowed by what are being cultivated on their roots—black truffles.
Piercing the soil at his farm in Chuckey, Tennessee, plant pathologist Tom Michaels discovered black truffles, pounds and pounds of them. This discovery was not unanticipated as he had inoculated the root systems of his hazel nut trees with Tuber melanosporum or the Black Perigord Truffle. His success in cultivating these only naturally occurring phenomena is remarkable. Upon finding this treasure trove of truffles, he brought them to the kitchen at Blackberry Farm where they were immediately offered at that evening’s dinner service. So began the relationship with Dr. Michaels, which has lead to the planting of Blackberry Farm’s own truffle orchard. Stay tuned to see if fortune strikes again in Tennessee. The gestation period for these culinary delights is the better part of a decade. So on future visits to Blackberry Farm, you may just have the opportunity to harvest your own truffle and have it shaved for you at dinner that very night…and on your farm eggs in the morning!