Pecan Truffles grow in South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pecan Truffles grow in South Georgia

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December 31, 2002

Calhoun County-- A new crop that South Georgia farmers are harvesting are " pecan truffles." A truffle is a fungus that sells for about $100 a pound.

Some of them grow around the roots of pecan trees, and some farmers are looking toward them as a future crop.

The hundred-dollar-a pound delicacy that might one day be a profitable crop in South Georgia. Frank Stimpson is the Manager of the Magnolia Plantation, and one of the first pecan growers in South Georgia to cash in on Pecan Truffles.

Stimpson said "It's a fungus. It grows from a fungus and it's like a mushroom. And it's a tuber." Pecan truffles grow underground among the roots of trees.

Between September and December one of Stimpson's workers gathers truffles. In 2001 they found 50 pounds. Last year a little less. Pecan truffles could be a good side revenue for pecan growers, but so far no one has found a way to make them grow.

Stimpson said "In February I'll grind them up and put them back in the tree roots, around the sprinklers. Hope they'll take. Just see if the spores relocate on a growing root."

Elizabeth's Restaurant in Savannah started buying and showcasing Pecan Truffles in their dishes two years ago, and now are one of the main clients of Magnolia's Truffles. But Stimpson admits they probably will remain a side item.

Stimpson said "If people want them. Some people don't know how to use them. Some people don't have the slightest idea what they are."

Magnolia Plantation will continue to work with truffles, trying to find a way to produce them. But for now the value of the truffle is it's scarcity and mystique.

The University of Georgia College of Agriculture is doing research on the pecan truffle. UGA Plant Pathologist Tim Brenneman discovered pecan truffles in Georgia 13 years ago.

posted at 4:05 by jimw@walb.com