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The trouble with truffles

According to Eater (one of my favorite food blogs), warmer temperatures in the coming decades may lead to an increase in the area where black truffles can grow. If you are not a food fanatic, it might be helpful to know that truffles are an expensive and highly regarded fungus that grows in the roots of certain trees. People eat them thinly shaved over pasta, potatoes, or other foods. Truffle flavor and fragrance can also be infused into oils that can be sprinkled over fries or other foods, although often a cheaper chemical is used to give that taste instead.

As temperatures increase, the range over which truffles can grow is expected to expand northward. That could potentially lead to increases in harvest, adding income to the pockets of truffle farmers if the demand for the pricey products increases. But as Eater points out, there are other issues that could impact the ability of the truffles to grow and thrive, including the availability of the right kinds of trees, the available water, and the soil temperatures. You can read more about how they use climate models to try to tease out these relationships at https://www.eater.com/22314129/climate-change-black-truffles-growing-regions. They have some additional articles on the impacts of climate change on food at https://www.eater.com/22297782/climate-change-impact-food-chain-dining-wine. And if you did not know, truffles also grow on the roots of pecan trees here in the Southeast, although they are a different variety. Here’s a blog post on Southeastern truffles I wrote in 2017 describing an attempt to bring European truffles to the Southeast: https://site.extension.uga.edu/climate/2017/11/uga-scientist-to-test-viability-of-european-truffles-in-georgia/.