Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gone to the dogs

For a trifle of truffles, in the Pacific Northwest;
A new generation of Northwest truffle harvesters uses dogs to selectively find prime fungi rather than rakes that sweep the ground, unearthing lots of immature truffles lacking in flavor and fragrance.
...In the rapidly evolving world of Northwest cuisine, the dog-found truffles command a premium price — $25 an ounce or $400 per pound — from chefs who shave them on to pasta, infuse their flavors into butters and oils and make specialty items such as black-truffle ice cream. 
Later we get around to the economics of all this;
Kris Jacobson, a retired police officer in Eugene, went into the business a year ago after her Belgian Malinois, Ilsa, locked onto the truffle scent during a two-day training.
She estimates that her company, Umami Truffle Dogs, was able to harvest about 30 pounds last year.
....Last year, [Alana] McGee gathered about 10 pounds of truffles, and supplemented her income training dogs.  
Meaning Jacobson grossed $12,000 and McGee $4,000!  Sounds like a hobby, not a business.

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