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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Growing truffles in Livermore

Uploaded: Aug 9, 2023
While reporting for my recent cover story on the Livermore Valley wine industry, I came across a notable new use for wine country land.
Mark and Maria Triska have owned a 14-acre vineyard and home on Crane Ridge that the Wente family developed in the 1990s. As my story reported, Triska’s vineyards, like many others planted in the late 1990s and early 2000s, are nearing the end of their productive life. In 2016, Triska said that they no longer had a contract with a winery to purchase their merlot crop.
Maria was doing some research on alternatives and growing truffles came to the fore. The American Truffle Co., based in Napa, was looking for partners to plant additional orchards to grow truffles. The company takes 30% in its partnership and provides the trees, inoculated with truffle spores in their roots.
The Triskas decided to move ahead on a 4-acre parcel that is separated from the rest of their vineyard by a seasonal creek. They planted 600 hazel nut trees and 300 oak trees 5 ½ years ago. The truffle orchard, which looks just like a fruit orchard with trees in rows with weed block between them. They’re farmed organically with no pesticides or herbicides. Space between the rows is mowed and trees, irrigated by micro-sprinklers, are hand-weeded.
Last winter, they brought in specialized truffle dogs to check for the fungus that grows under-ground. There was nothing to harvest, something that they hope will be different when they check again this winter.
Because of the truffle orchard, the only one in the East Bay, they will have a major shift in their family. They’ve been cat people Mark said, but they will be getting a Lagotto Romagnolo, the special breed of dog that are trained to sniff for the underground fungi.
Winter truffles sell for between $1,000-2,000 per pound so they’re hoping they will have a productive patch.

Fox Sports has spent months hyping the 2023 Women’s World Cup being played in Australia and New Zealand. The early Sunday morning elimination of the two-time defending champion American team must have had executives choking on their morning coffee or seeking a stronger beverage.
The team lost in penalty kicks when three players, including controversial veteran Megan Rapinoe, sailed their shots outside of the goal frame. Sweeden advanced in a game that the United States dominating the play.
Sweeden’s win, coupled with the huge time difference, put games on live in the wee hours of the morning. Without the rooting interest, you wonder just how much interest there will be in watching Japan and Sweeden battle in the quarter-finals.
Fox paid $425 million for U.S. rights to the 2019 and 2023 competitions.
What is it worth to you?


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