Waitrose has planted a new truffle orchard as demand for subterranean delicacy continues to grow.
The retailer will become the first supermarket to have its own truffle orchard on the Leckford Estate in Hampshire, planting a small patch of trees, which truffles like to grow among, to celebrate its 90th year of farming with the supermarket.
Truffle products are growing in popularity, says Waitrose, with sales of oil infused with truffle up 14 per cent, and searches for truffle oil on Waitrose.com up by 28 per cent on April last year.
The species of truffle planted has been specifically chosen for its ability to grow in the UK climate, where there is a good variation in temperature throughout the year.
The soil on the Leckford Farm estate also creates an ideal PH for the truffles to grow in. After the truffles have taken root in a few years a specially trained dog will be employed to sniff out the underground fungi.
Andrew Hoad, head of the Waitrose & Partners 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 is 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 passion in our celebrations, and what better way than growing an ingredient as special as truffles.
“We hope 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 Partners and customers long into the future.”