The Truffle Dog
Location: The Truffle Orchard, Willamette Valley Vineyards
Featuring: Jim and Tom, the dog
Why do sustainable truffle hunters use dogs (and pigs) instead of rakes?
1.) Dogs only dig in the precise area where truffles can be found. Indiscriminate raking tears up the substrate around trees, creating irreparable root damage. It may even diminish future harvests.
2.) Truffles have a very pleasing aroma when ripe; hence dogs only find those ready for picking. Indiscriminate hunters often find immature and unripe truffles with little taste.
3. Truffles mature underground and require animals to unearth and disperse them. Raking is a much less effective method of spore dispersal.