The Oregon Truffle Festival Story
The Oregon Truffle Festival is evolving and changing: In 2018, we began operating as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization!
OTF has always been mission driven, with the dual purpose of promoting the glorious native culinary truffles found in abundance in Oregon’s Willamette Valley to truffle lovers worldwide, and establishing a collaborative educational and information sharing hub for the burgeoning North American cultivated truffle industry. Over the past thirteen years, we’ve worked tirelessly to educate farmers, land owners, harvesters, truffle dog trainers, chefs, and consumers about every aspect of native truffles and truffle cultivation, while furthering the mycological research that began over 100 years ago at Oregon State University. As a nonprofit, the OTF expands on its “party with a purpose,” with more year-round culinary, educational and training opportunities—essential to both a thriving seasonal food culture and the sustainable development of the cultivated truffle industry.
The OTF is actively seeking grants and partnerships to help accomplish these goals, and is proud to announce the receipt of our first grant in January from Newberg transient lodging taxes and the City of Newberg.
- Promote a wider appreciation of the various culinary uses for truffles through cooking classes and collaboration with chefs and culinary students to position Oregon black and white truffles as equals to the finest truffles in the world, while promoting a vibrant seasonal food culture.
- Support grower’s knowledge of best practices for truffle farming through educational seminars, international collaboration with scientists and farmers throughout the world’s successful truffle regions, and ongoing field research of cultivated orchards.
- Support and develop the advancement of domestic truffle cultivation, production, and distribution as a viable agricultural and agritourism enterprise, job creator, and economic stimulator for both the state of Oregon, and throughout North America.
- Deepen the understanding of Oregon truffles through mycological research and education, and the training of truffle dogs to protect their natural habitat and encourage sustainable business and cultivation practices.
- Engage culinary influencers and tastemakers, both domestic and international, to serve as advocates and ambassadors of Oregon truffles, Oregon artisan food products and ingredients, and Oregon as an epicenter of culinary tourism.
- Grow demand for extended, multi-day travel throughout the state by hosting festival events throughout the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s truffle region.
Board of Directors
Discovering Oregon Truffles
Despite Oregon’s long history of truffle research, its truffle industry is young and undiscovered. The few sources for wild truffles are avidly sought and jealously protected by harvesters who sell the truffles quietly here and there throughout the country. Secrecy pervades the world of truffles and is a part of their mystique, but it has not served Oregon’s truffles well, as secrecy precludes development of the knowledge necessary to bring the real potential of the Oregon truffles to market. Simple details like how to choose and handle a truffle to tease out its grandeur are known to only a few harvesters and chefs. As a result, Oregon truffles have not received the recognition that those who have experienced their essential magnificence know they deserve.
“Who ever says truffle, pronounces a great word, which awakens erotic and gourmand ideas both in the sex dressed in petticoats and in the bearded portion of humanity.” J. A. Brillat-Savarin, 1825
Some of us in Oregon’s nascent truffle industry decided we needed to celebrate our native truffles as the delicacies they are, at the same time ground is broken for growing a domestic supply of the illustrious French and Italian truffles. Our scientific tradition, our wealth of native truffles, and the advancement of technology and science around cultivating the European truffles have reached a confluence in Oregon, placing us at the forefront of the burgeoning truffle industry in North America. To learn more about the Oregon Truffle industry and its relevance and role in the establishment of the North American industry, read our USDA funded feasibility study at www.oregontruffles.org. The best way to experience this phenomenon is to attend the Oregon Truffle Festival – designed to support those interested in establishing successful truffieres, while celebrating the Oregon truffles’ earthy elegance.
Oregon Has World-Class Native Truffles
The secret is out: the same growing conditions that make Oregon wines the New World’s answer to Burgundy are also ideal for truffles that are the gustatory equals to those found in France and Italy.
On the culinary level, star chefs have become enchanted with Oregon truffles as a unique local ingredient that adds powerful new flavor to Pacific Northwest cuisine. At the educational level, mycologists at Oregon State University in Corvallis are world renowned for their expertise in truffles. It’s no surprise that Oregon is the epicenter of research, cultivation, and the culinary use of domestic truffles.
Oregon Truffles Are…
Crowd-Pleasers: From farmers to entrepreneurs, chefs to scientists, dog-trainers to vintners, the festival attendees are diverse and wild about Oregon truffles.
The Genuine Article: Festival events include authentic, hands-on foraging expeditions in which participants hunt with trained dogs, collect truffles using sustainable methods, learn the secrets of cooking with truffles, and then enjoy their culinary alchemy in the hands of renowned local, regional and national chefs.
An Emerging Industry with Huge Economic Potential: Oregon Truffles may have humble origins, growing nestled in the roots and loam of Oregon’s forests, but as a treasured and rare ingredient, they are becoming Oregon’s most sought-after culinary commodity.