Meet Lolo, a Lagotto Romagnolo, whose professional skill is truffle hunting. Lolo’s owner, Alana McGee, takes to nearby woodlands for her secret spots.
We asked Alana a few questions:
Where do you and Lolo go truffle hunting? We have lots of spots, so Cascade foothills is accurate- more specifically near Tiger Mt, Issaquah, Duvall or Maple Valley- as well as the Shelton & Centralia areas.
Who are your restaurant clients? Canlis, Herbfarm, Epulo in Edmonds, Nacho Mamma food truck
How much do the truffles sell for? We sell wholesale and retail, so prices range from $150-$700/lb. There’s quite a range. That is equivalent to $10-$35 oz wholesale (it is a quality and market based economy so it changes based on production & quality) and about $30-45/oz at retail. If you want an average $400/lb is about right.
In France, no kidding, farmers use truffle-hunting pigs to root out the valuable, fragrant tubers. Mostly in the Périgord region of the southwest, and in Provence, where the black truffles, melanosporum, grow on the roots of oak trees. The white truffles of Alba, from northern Italy, are tuber magnatum, no less fragrant, no less valuable.
The trouble with dogs is you have to train them. Pigs, on the other hand, are naturally drawn to the scent of a buried truffle. Then again, the pig will eat the truffle without a thought. Seriously.
Wanna see Lolo at work? Here’s a video: