Grant Award: $6,000 — Truffle Project
The 2012 WNC AgOptions grant is assisting the Wavras in phase II of their truffle project, which started in 2011. In honor of her late husband John, Joni and her children are are establishing Black Perigord Truffles and possibly Burgundy Truffles. They are planting additional filbert and oak trees as well as purchasing and training a dog specific for sniffing out underground truffles.
The truffle operation fits nicely with the Wavras Christmas tree operation, as truffles are harvested in January and February during a slow time in the tree industry. They expect to produce 35 pounds of truffles per acre and gross from $500 to $1,000 per pound. In one year, they can make what they did with trees in eight years. They plan to market to nearby seasonal towns (Highlands, Cashiers, Lake Toxaway), as well as establish markets in nearby cities.
The Wavras have managed a Choose and Cut Fraser Fir Christmas Tree operation since 1993. They also experimented with pumpkins, gourds, mums, chickens, eggs and shiitake mushrooms.
May peace be with John Wavra, who passed away during the 2012 grant cycle.