More than four years ago, Truffiere farmer Jennifer Hunter, took inspiration from the Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans, when she decided to jump off the corporate ladder, sell up in Cairns and “escape to Cradle Country” to Lower Barrington.
She brought with her business nous, tenacious fortitude and two of her trusty pets a terrier called Chicken and 21 year-old feline, Sebastian.
When I first stepped foot on this beautiful property, I felt welcomed immediately.
Jennifer uses a closed loop farming system with sustainable practices in her 6.5 Ha with 700 English Oak, Hazelnut and Holly Oak trees. This region is located in 40 degrees south with similar latitude to southern France, which makes it ideal for growing French black truffles. Jennifer’s truffiere of mature Oaks is becoming one of the highest yielding truffle farms in Australia. Majority of her truffles are exported fresh at approximately $3000 a kilo.
As Jennifer showed me around her property, I couldn’t help noticing all the animals Jennifer has rescued – from chickens to ponies, dogs, geese, sheep, cows…every animal had a name.
It was evident that she loves animals.
Jennifer is passionate about permaculture, reducing waste and recycling, using her animal waste as fertiliser. “It’s about working with the environment, not against it. If we look after the environment, the environment will look after us.” Jennifer said.
“Truffles and their host trees have a symbiotic relationship where, in the right conditions, the truffle provides the nutrients for the tree and the tree provides the carbohydrates for the truffle – A match made in heaven” Jennifer explained.
We headed back to the newly built Truffledore to finish off our day with a delicious truffled pizza and a lovely glass of sparkling. Our glasses clinked with Jennifer quoting from Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ – “Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees”. The Truffledore on Cradle Country Farm is truly a unique slice of truffle heaven.
If you would like to visit the farm or find out more about growing, eating, buying, or indeed anything to do with truffle go to www.truffledore.com.au