95% of the Aragonese truffle is produced in the province of Teruel
The black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) is considered one of the most exquisite products in the world, and Aragon is its largest producer and exporter in the world.
This autonomous community has some 10,000 hectares of truffle plantations. Teruel has the largest cultivated area of this delicacy in Spain. "95% of the truffle from Aragon is in the province of Teruel," said Julio Perales, the president of the Teruel truffle growers association (Atruter). He also said that, even though there still was no exact data, the volume achieved this season had been similar to the one achieved last year, and that the quality of the truffles had been very good.
The truffle harvest (which lasts from mid-November, when the season opens, to mid-March or even April) ended with very good forecasts. Not everything in the campaign was great, stated the president of the Association of Truffle Growers of the Zaragoza regions (Truzarfa), Jesus Lopez. "Prices were bad because the restaurants were partly closed and, even though we sold everything we took out, sales were bad. The closing of the hotel industry affected us a lot," he stressed.
Another setback for this Aragonese star product was the weather this season, especially at the beginning of 2021 with the Filomena storm and the frosts. "The cold froze some truffles and had an impact on quality at the end of the season," Lopez clarified. There was a better production in irrigated areas than in rainfed plantations, as they produced more kilos, he said.
A demanding crop
Cultivating black truffle takes a long time, a great investment, and using land that meets a series of specific characteristics. "It has to be grown in a warm terrain that has to be 650 or 700 meters above sea level in cold areas where it is not very hot. Then you have to wait six or seven years for the plantation to yield its first truffle," Lopez said. "It is an expensive crop if you don't receive subsidies, as you don't know what will happen until the first truffle starts to appear. In addition, you must have irrigation as it's difficult to produce it in a farm without irrigation," he added.