Nannup Truffles was founded by West Australian businessman Dave Somerville in 2016.
Through a series of fortunate events, Dave acquired a 300 acre property in Nannup, located in WA’s picturesque south west, and set about researching the best way to use the gently undulating, rich verdant land.
Dave has always loved beautiful food, but had never encountered truffles before, so when someone suggested planting truffles, he decided to dig a little deeper. He attended a truffle conference, and became intrigued with the romance and indulgent reputation of the odd looking fungus. And when, at the conference, he had his first bite of marron with truffles, it was, as they say, a ‘light bulb’ moment.
Dave finally understood what the hype was about, and a journey of discovery was fast becoming an obsession.
Dave decided to share his enthusiastic idea with some colleagues who also thought that owning a piece of a truffière was not only a ‘cool’ idea, with the successes of truffle production in Western Australia, and the price of truffles, it could be a very lucrative idea.
Together with new found truffle converts, Dave decided to seek out the best experience in the industry!
Dr Nick Malajczuk is the founder of the truffle industry in Australia, having initiated the inoculation and growing of truffles in Western Australia and Tasmania.
In engaging this research and feasibility assessment of the project, it became clear to Dave and colleagues that to be successful, the project would need to be engaged professionally and at scale – therefore they decided to explore the idea of a Co-operative truffière, where members ‘purchase’ their own piece of the truffière. In addition to membership benefits, they will receive dividends when the truffles are ready, either in the form of truffles, or proceeds of their sale.
This Co-operative arrangement, which is a ‘Share Farming Agreement’ between the Co-operative and the Land Owner ensures that all parties are working together to achieve the best production, the best yields and the best prices!
In 2016, the Nannup Truffle Growers Co-operative Limited was established, and with the early support of colleagues and some new Co-op members – the beginning preparation commenced!
- The climate, the soil and water analysis proved excellent for truffle production.
- Land preparation was extensive to transform the cattle producing land for agriculture.
- Fencing was replaced to ensure we were able to keep out kangaroos, emus and pigs!!
- Irrigation to provide water for 6,000 Oak trees required over 30 kilometres of trickle piping, supported by large scale pumps and a diesel generator – pumping water from a 1.6 gigalitre dam over 10 acres!
In October 2017, 6,000 Oak trees inoculated with Italian White Truffle and French Black Truffle spores were planted – together with 6,000 weed mats, 6,000 tree guards and 12,000 stakes!
The summer of 2017/18 was very kind to us! With our two year old seedlings being nursed through the first year of planting – we had a very mild summer with numerous heavy summer rains.
2018/19 is also shaping up to be a very good growing season – ably managed by Ross Varnavides of WA AG Solutions – supervising the health of the trees alongside Dr Nick, and our key person, our lady on the ground, is Ross’s mum Linda Varnavides who looks after the farm, the trees, the water, weeding, slashing, etc etc!!!
So the Co-operative is up and running – with our trees 2 years in the pot and now entering our second year in the ground – but we are still open for memberships although prices have increased to reflect the initial work and costs incurred by our early members shareholders.
For a one time subscription, members of the Co-operative are invited to themed dinners and events, and when the Truffles are ready, they will receive invitations to truffle hunts and on site events. All of our members receive quarterly newsletters with special recipes from well known guest chefs, information on what’s happening at the truffière, and what events are coming up for members.
Visit our ‘Membership’ section for more information on how you can own your own piece of truffle heaven.