Regional Events

Regional events started in April 2018 and have continued to grow.

Events are happening in your area – everyone is welcome to attend and share your thoughts, views and experiences with other growers and those with a passion for truffles.

Maureen Binns is the Regional Groups Coordinator for North Island and Lisa Williams the Coordinator for South Island.  Both can be contacted via email on  regions@nztruffles.org.nz.


Regional Coordinators

The regional coordinators are:

RegionRegional CoordinatorEmail Address
NorthlandSteve Karlsteve.karl@xtra.co.nz
AucklandSteve Karlsteve.karl@xtra.co.nz
WaikatoToff and Laurie Mylchreestmylchreestfamily@xtra.co.nz
Bay of Plenty (North)Maureen Binnscolbyandmomo@yahoo.com.au
Bay of Plenty (South)Annette Mundaymatandi@xtra.co.nz
Hawke's BayAlex Merrieamerrie@hotmail.co.nz
TaranakiDan Zinslikylie.zinsli@gmail.com
Kapiti/Horowhenua/ManawatuTBC
Are you able to volunteer?
Wellington/WairarapaNeil Cameronlochiel@xtra.co.nz
Nelson/MarlboroughPeter Burtonpeter.burton@nmdhb.govt.nz
CanterburyCatherine and Matt Dwancatherine@thepropertyfirm.co.nz
OtagoRod Keillorrodkeillor@gmail.com

 


Upcoming Regional Events

DateRegionContactContact EmailMeeting Details
3 NovemberHawkes BayAlex Merrieamerrie@hotmail.co.nzPlease bring a plate for a pot luck lunch (and wine).

As regional co-ordinator I will be bringing up several matters.

1. Welcoming new people to the district and group
2. Calling for ideas for regional meeting themes for the next 12 months. For example: dog trials, root sample viewing, arborist visit.
3. The possibility of instigating our own trials. For example: planting new seedlings into existing non preforming orchards, slug control.
4. Getting expressions of interest for the formation of a New Zealand wide producer co-operative. This will take the form of centralised grading and manufacturing facilities, with a single desk sales outlet.
5. Calling for growers to share any new findings, trends and observations from their past year’s activities.
If anybody has a specific matter they wish to bring up at the meet and chat afternoon, please let me know and I can give everybody the heads up so they can have a think about the topic before you spring it on them.

This gathering is intended to be informal and relaxed.

Please give me an indication if you are coming.
10th NovemberTaranakiDan and Kylie Zinslikylie.zinsli@gmail.comVisiting and meeting at a Whanganui truffiere. Contact Kylie and Dan for more information.
17 NovemberNelson/MarlboroughPeter Burtonpeter.burton@nmhs.govt.nzThis meeting will be held at George and Pips place. Contact Peter for further details.

Previous Events

DateRegional GroupReport
7 Sep 2019CanterbryCanterbury Truffle Association Regional Meeting
7th September 2019
Meeting started: 10am
Meetng Closed: 12am
Present:
Catherine Dwan (Regional Co-ordinator) Lisa Williams (exec NZTA), Stephen Williams, Matt Dwan, John Burn, Susy Mannall, Johan Roentgen
Apologies:
Gareth Renowden, Anne and Gavin Hulley, Jeff Turner, Alexis Guerin
Minutes
A brief synopsis of who everyone was there and their connection to the truffle industry.
New Zealand Truffle Association
Lisa Williams is representing the Canterbury Region on the NZTA executive. A discussion was held about the various roles within the executive and was there any area that the region wanted strong representation on. This stimulated conversation around two roles in particular The Southern Truffle NZ Ltd Representative and the Research and Development Officer.
The Southern Truffle NZ Ltd Representative
From the truffle conference people became aware that there were only two directors nominated to represent the export industry.
With the increase of truffles coming onto the market, it is believed that the role in which the two directors play has a significant impact on all truffle growers within New Zealand.
Can it pleased be asked of the executive the following questions:
• Are the roles of directorship renewable?
• Is there scope for a committee to work with and alongside the directors?
• Should there be 5 directors as a minimum to ensure greater transparency in the decision making process?
• Having an impartial person involved in this aspect of the truffle association
• If growers are wanting to export how does The Southern Truffle NZ Ltd support or hinder the process for the growers?
• What is the companies directives?




Research and Development Officer
We all acknowledged and value the significance of having someone as knowledgeable, passionate, and professional as Alexis involved within the Truffle industry. This led to a discussion on future proofing this role.
It is extremely important with the appointment of the Research and Development Officer role that this person is able to support growers in establishing this boutique industry here in New Zealand.
Being aware of the additional responsibilities that this role includes, which involves a significant amount of extra researching, organising workshops, collecting data and travel etc requires a lot of time to keep us all informed, at a scientific level that we all understand.
This made us question should this be a paid appointment, and that this role should not be at any cost to the person who undertakes it to ensure that we maintain having the right person in this role, who values the development of the truffle industry.
Could the money be better spent on supporting this role rather than changing the logo for instance.
The group was happy for Lisa to put her name forward for any roles that may come available if required.
The Truffle Industry
A discussion was had about the industry
• It’s not an appealing industry to enter into
• The saturation of the truffle market
• Quality of truffles being sold
• Misrepresentation of truffle varieties on the market
• Some truffles coming from Canterbury are being sold cheaply and are of poor quality and how this is effecting the whole region
How can we resolve some of these concerns and move positively ahead to change the mindset on the truffles being sold from the Canterbury region.
• Having the truffle association and the hospitality industry work closer together
• Encouraging all growers to have high standards
• Draw up a document that states what a chef should expect when purchasing quality truffles including aroma, cleanliness, quality of skin
• Educating chefs at the beginning of the season about truffles and what they should expect from a producer
• Working together collectively supporting each other in filling larger orders
• Establish one point of contact for growers to sell from within the Canterbury area, who will ensure that quality is always sent
How can we encourage new truffle growers and old to come along?
Looking at promoting the group as a place to share information about truffle growing, harvesting and selling product.
Wanting to promote a collaborative approach to all things truffle.
We are wanting to preserve the industry.
There are very few people on the data base in the Canterbury Region in relation to the truffiere’s within the region.
Catherine and Lisa to put on as many regional facebook sites when our next meeting is to encourage new and old growers to come along.
Susy is going to email her growers and let them know what is happening within the region as well.
Export
Stephen is going to make contact with the person that he deals with regularly as a customs clearing agent, in relation to export, and will report back to us.
Feedback from The New Zealand Truffle Conference 2019
Friday Workshops
• Brilliant
• Great
• Biology really good
• Cooking really good (could’ve got someone local to bring down expenses)
Having a single point of contact would have been helpful
Having an agenda sent out with the early bird registrations as several people have paid for 4 workshops rather than 2
Greg Bonito was amazing “a very clever man”
Ian Hall talked more about himself rather than the truffle industry itself
Michelle D good presenter could have talked more about truffles though
AKE – consensus was that they pushed themselves and their services, could we have had someone local to talk marketing etc rather than the expense of flying 3 people down. They should have been more informed about the truffle industry.
Visits to truffieres good, however need to ensure that there are clear objectives for each visit.
3 places too many to visit, 2 would have been better
Extend the truffle visits to have them as a learning experience rather than a tourist stop
The best conference in 5 years due to the sharing of information between growers and the presenters.
Suggest introducing the executive committee before the AGM
Very little communication between the regional co-ordinator and the executive – could have provided contacts, information, help etc.
Opportunity to give feedback either as an email or sheets on the day with tick boxes and room for comments, suggestion boxes for questions and ideas for next year on tables to be cleared and addressed throughout the conference.
Logo selection - prioritise the money somewhere else.
Catherine to email out to the regional members for their feedback and ideas for next years conference.
Canterbury Truffle Festival
This to be brought up for the next meeting looking at formalising, equal opportunity for all growers participation, funding, dates, regional role, face book, website. Planning now for next year. Pros and cons from this year. This will be placed on the agenda with people to bring along with their ideas and thoughts to the next meeting.
What would you like to get from these meetings?
25 May 2019TaranakiPre-winter catch up.
12 May 2019Wellington/Wairarapa
4 May 2019CanterburyThe inaugural meeting was held on the 5th May. There were lots of positives that came out of the meeting, including breaking down the barriers between growers and developing a more open and inclusive forum for everyone. Suggested that a collective marketing approach may assist the industry moving forward which was supported by the attendees.

Lisa discussed her trip to Italy which lead into a discussion about everyone talking about NZ’s superior truffle quality. All attendees agree that NZ truffle is special, and a collaborative approach should be our aim, and hope to become more inclusive as a group. Comments were made that some truffle growers don’t feel welcome in the industry. All attendees agree this should not be the way forward.

As a group, it was decided that current members will reach out to some truffle growers who may not have felt welcome in the industry in the past, in the hope they will reconsider becoming part of the industry, under the banner of inclusiveness and openness.

John spoke about previous exporting options including prior inability to fulfil overseas contracts to Tahiti, Malaysia and others.

Conference: Alexis updated the attendees about his recent NZTA meeting. It was confirmed that the NZTA conference this year is located in Christchurch and an email would be coming out soon that will cover more details. Alexis advised the NZTA framework around the 2019 conference and that pre-conference workshops will be taking place with a variety of topics including some exciting Food-Tech workshops.

Saffron Milk Caps: Alexis opened up his container of freshly harvested saffron milk caps and gave attendee’s a show and tell of the product, with discussions around cultivation techniques, seasonal changes and a topic overview of this particular fungi. Product and presentation were very well received.

Truffière Visit: Walk and talk around the host property and general discussions until event finished.

A big thank you to Alex and Joan for hosting the meeting. Our hosts provided delicious home-made refreshments and were presented with a bottle of wine and much praise for being willing to open their home and truffière to our members.
14th April 2019Nelson/MarlboroughThis was the inaugural meeting of the group identified by the NZ Truffle Association as growers from Nelson Marlborough and called to gauge interest in the formation of a regional group. It is part of the push by the national executive to encourage greater communication within regions and to create opportunities to discuss and learn around identified topics.

After discussion, yes, there is interest to forming such a group in Nelson Marlborough.

The meeting focussed on the group’s purpose, the initial topics of interest to growers and the structure of future meetings. The following points were made:
- We agree with the NZTA Executive that there is value in growing, from the ground up, regional groups based on growers experience, interests and aspirations
- There is much to be learnt from each other’s grower experience in Nelson Marlborough
- That a collective approach to all aspects of the business is important and will become increasingly so as issues such as truffle marketing and export take on more prominence
- That the group should start with a Nelson grower focus. This is for practical reasons of ease of travel and communication noting that Marlborough growers are more than welcome to join the meetings
- That we should base the meetings around selected topic areas and make them regular enough to keep members enthusiastic
- That meetings should rotate around member orchards
- That there is interest in inviting experts to meetings and sharing the costs of this
- The identified initial topic areas of interest are
- Truffiere management. This includes the management science (eg root analysis, spore enhancement) and management practice (eg canopy management, spraying, cultivation, insect control etc)
- Selling and marketing. This includes adopting a common standard for truffle grading, MPI registration, relationship with wholesalers such as BidFoods, direct sale to restaurants and pricing.
- That we will start the group with a further meeting in July to focus on truffle grading and another, post-harvest, with a focus on truffiere management.

The meeting concluded with a walk through River Road Truffles to observe canopy management, brulee formation, early sign of this winter’s crop and insect management.

The next meeting will be and Steve and Jenny Hart’s truffiere on Sunday 7th July. The topic for the day will be truffle grading. In a ‘show and tell’ group members who have truffle are encouraged to bring samples for a grading exercise.
13 March 2019Bay of Plenty (North)Thanks to all of you who supported our second Bay of Plenty truffle gathering. We enjoyed it so much that we have decided to have a truffle hunt here on Sunday 9th June. Details will follow but start time is expected to be 10.30ish (it is winter, after all).

The target audience is those who have been growing truffle trees for several years and are still waiting to harvest truffles and also the new people in our group who have just planted their trees or whose trees are fairly new and not yet producing truffles.

The maximum number for this truffle hunt is 8 people, and you need to book in for it because I intend that our refreshments will be truffle based......such as brie with truffle, truffled scrambled eggs, truffled buttered breadsticks. Still thinking about that.

We are enjoying meeting you all and sharing ideas about truffle growing. I'll keep posting items on Facebook, too, so checkout New Zealand Truffle Association for more news and photos.
16th Feb 2019Bay of Plenty (South)The first BOP Regional Truffle meeting was extremely successful. With close to 40 people attending along with guest speakers from Ake innovations,

The casual and relaxed atmosphere along with the sunshine made for a great day indeed. Starting at around 10.30 am and finishing up at around 3.30 pm, it could have gone on for longer. Ake innovations are locally based and are about helping businesses small and large by creating sustainability, tailored management and building capacity and growth and gave a great talk on advancing what we already have. They are now already helping another couple of Truffieres in Rotorua as a result from the BOP regional meeting.

There was a great mix of people in which half were association members and the other half are now considering joining, I have been in contact with some of them and they are really enthused by everyone's passion to help and learn from each other. The highlights of the day were the individual introductions from everyone. Great people coming from all over from Nelson South Island, Taihape, Hawkes Bay, Rotorua just to name a few. Truffieres ranging from "thinking about planting" to 30 year old truffieres. The talk was a wide conversation from the sex of truffles, through to soil and weed maintenance, to lifting and marketing.

The tables were laden with food, and a big thank you to Sharyn for her amazing scones and to Maureen and Colin for the hot water urn, fruit and Maureen's beautiful baking, and to those others who also did some yummy baking.

A big thank you to George our Truffle association President for coming all the way up from Nelson to the Bay to attend our meeting. Some who were unable to make it have been in contact and are lined up for our next meeting at Maureen and Colin's place. Looking forward to seeing everyone again and to the next lot of amazing speakers that Maureen has lined up.
25th Nov 2018Auckland/NorthlandWe held our first Regional Discussion Group at our Maungatapere Truffiere on 25th November 2018.
For a short notice meeting, we had a good turnout with some robust discussion.
One of the more surprising topics of discussion came after one of our growers stated that in early November, some very small winter Truffles were found in their truffiere. Even though they had not cultivated this variety, it gives hope that Northland can produce the elusive truffle.
Other topics covered were:
* Practical hints for management of our Truffieres. These included:
* Pruning trees to a certain height as not to allow too much shading.
* Pruning high enough so truffle dogs and handlers are safe.
* Trenching roots down to 200mm, approx. 2 metres out from the trunks. The theory is that this stimulates the outer roots to regenerate with multiple new roots.
* Putting in “Spanish Wells” (small circular holes) in the root zone to reseed the roots with truffle spore to increase truffle production.
* Establishing a Truffiere
* As one family in the group was looking at establishing their own truffiere, we had some good discussion on what soil types, and resources to look for when planning. (as we are all in our infancy in own truffieres, we can only give limited advice)
* Discussion turned to machinery, and what was needed to maintain the truffiere (from catching mowers to S tyne cultivators for trenching)
* New Food Act
* Unfortunately none of us have looked very deeply into this which will become a compliant issue once we start producing and selling produce.

The day rounded off with a shared lunch, and agreement to hold another Group gathering next year, possibly in February 2019.

Thank you to all who attended.
17 Nov 2018TaranakiDuring the conference we discussed with a few of the locals that we should have a get together.
The idea is to:
* Get to know each other.
* See where everyone's at.
* Discuss the challenges that we are all facing at the various stages of our projects and possibly help resolve them,
* Chat about the conference outcomes, and;
* Maria presented and shared her knowledge with on orchard preparation
3 Nov 2018Hawkes BayThank you for all the support for our soils discussion group.
Hope you had a nice afternoon.
It would appear that there is a lot we can do to improve our chances of success by understanding soil
Feel free to contact Andrew as I know he is very interested in what we are doing as truffle growers and he is applying himself to the task.
For myself I will be doing a couple of trial plots under his guidance.
27th Oct 2018Waikato Regional GroupThis was a pot luck dinner as an introduction to those in the Waikato region to touch base and meet each other. The weather was not the best, torrential rain, although disappointing a visit around the truffiere was not an option due to the weather, the evening was very social.