Truffle Kerfuffle

Truffles can be big business. Some types, like the black Perigord truffle, can fetch $800 a pound. So it’s no surprise that aspiring truffle tycoons might find themselves in court. Today’s NYT reports on the legal fight between two would-be truffle growers in North Carolina.

Over the past few years, the two have sued and countersued in Orange County Civil Superior Court over business plans, trade secrets and the sale of specially inoculated trees that grow truffles on their roots.

Their case has been in and out of mediation. Now, they are at a standoff, waiting for the court to decide who was wrong. . . .

The fact is, neither is digging up that many truffles. Although about 80 orchards make up the tiny North Carolina truffle industry, the harvest this year was probably not even 50 pounds, said Jane Morgan Smith, the recent past president of the North American Truffle Growers Association and one of the first people to grow them successfully in the state.