Oak and hazel trees have had truffle spores added to their roots and should start producing a meaningful yield of this edible fungi in around five to seven years. The farm will then recruit a specially trained dog to search out the ingredient.
Andrew Hoad, head of the Leckford Estate, said: “Truffles are one of the most sought after delicacies of the food world, so it seemed fitting to plant this orchard in honour of our 90th year of farming here in Hampshire.
“It’s a long term investment for us, which could take up to 10 years to come to fruition. But as a business that has a passion for great quality food, farming and agriculture, we wanted to encompass this in our celebrations – and what better way than growing an ingredient as special as truffles?
“We hope that by being the first supermarket to have its own truffle orchard, we will be creating something special that we are able to share with our staff and customers long into the future.”
According to the supermarket chain, demand for truffles is on the rise, with sales of truffle-infused oil up 14% in April against the year-ago period.