Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill's Curated Lifestyle & Design Magazine
by: Lucinda Trew, editor-in-chief
“To tell the story of the truffle is to tell the history of world civilization.”
- Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), French writer
Well, Monsieur Dumas: North Carolina is writing a new chapter in the history books. We’re making the world a bit more civilized, southern style. We are welcoming Truffletopia, a Pittsboro-based farm business dedicated to growing truffles, producing truffle products and educating the community about the culinary marvels of this coveted subterranean fungus.
Truffletopia is the brainchild of three friends who met while studying at Florida State University (FSU): Tony Huey; Joshua Esnard; and Mickey Mitchell.
Tony Huey grew up in Florida in an Asian-American household, where both sets of his grandparents owned restaurants. Since graduating, he has lived in Las Vegas, Vail, Colorado; Anchorage, Alaska; and Lubbock, Texas. His travels sparked an interest in cuisines and diverse cultures.
Joshua was born in Saint Lucia and grew up in Chapel Hill. His father was a professor of plant pathology and microbiology; his mother was a professor of urban and regional planning. Joshua is a winning contestant on ABC’s Shark Tank and his patents have been featured in Forbes, National Public Radio, GQ, and more.
Mickey is a native of the Bronx, New York. After graduating from FSU, he returned home to work with high-pressure steam boilers and turbines in a Brooklyn power plant. Even in the big city, he dreamed of farming and found a passion for gardening and growing his own food.
Tony, Josh and Mickey, and their wives, respectively, Brittany, Jamie Blank and Lizzie, began envisioning a North Carolina truffle farm in 2015. They knew they wanted to produce truffles … in a family-friendly environment … in a community that values farm-to-table freshness and quality. They engaged a realtor and began the important task of collecting and assessing soil samples. Truffles require soft, adequately moist, well-draining soil with high limestone content, Tony explains, the type of soil typically found in regions with a Mediterranean climate, such as northern Spain, northern Italy and southern France.
But truffles can and do grow in the United States, and in North Carolina. The Truffletopia team hit pay dirt in Chatham County, on a 26-acre farm in Pittsboro with the right soil pH level, and close enough to the thriving foodie market of the Triangle. Proximity to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area was important, Tony says. “There’s such an appreciation for farm-to-table produce in this area. And we want to be able to deliver truffles to area restaurants and chefs within hours of pulling them from the ground.”For the full story visit MOD Society Magazine here.