Grant and Betty Duckett, Canadian Trufficulture Pioneers
Grant and Betty celebrated their 50th year together in 2014 and are enjoying retirement. A DECADE of Canadian Truffle Production was heralded Jan 1, 2017. The main Plantation of older growth has been turned over to our family for planning, cultivation, nurturing and documentation. Ducketts have retained a smaller private plantation for their own use in their retirement at Duckett Farms.
Betty depicts the forests, totems and seascapes of the West Coast in oils. All images © copyright B.Duckett.
When Ducketts retired to Vancouver Island, bought their farm and started in 2000 no one in Canada had ever raised truffles. There was no Canadian knowledge base to start from and no one could help, not even government Agriculture departments. Ducketts researched and learned everything they could about successful trufficulture, particularly from the French. They prepared the site, soil, wells, irrigation and protection that were necessary, documented their choices and with BC Agriculture facilitating, they imported their first inoculum in 2003.
Ducketts’ pioneering development of truffle production technology merges the fields of forestry and agriculture in development of truffle-hosting tree stock for future truffieres and development of our own successful truffle production plantations.
The Next Generations
As originally planned, our family has joined the farm, easing Ducketts’ work load. Grant and Betty are thrilled, after 60 years in pioneering endeavours in agriculture in Canada, to have retired again. Ducketts markers were taken by Alberta Agriculture for the DNA to define a Canadian Elk 30 yrs ago, and producing Canada’s first ever Black Perigord, was a milestone in 2007. Ducketts are proud; they did it without government or corporate incentive or grants, but with only their own savings!
They finally travelled to Provence, France, where the model for their dream originated with literature describing the climate, soil, tree growth, altitude etc. The main inspiration came from “old growth” forests being the sites of truffle production.
With thanks to all who have assisted us, Grant and Betty congratulate those who believe that Vancouver Island will be the Capital of Truffle Production in Canada. Our family will focus on extended trufficulture and raising CKC conforming Lagotto Romagnolo dogs for “the Hunt” in Canada.
One of the first and most significant decisions was to be organic. Ducketts are diligent in maintaining a natural organic environment for the truffles to grow in. From the time the nuts and acorns are gathered all phases of growth and husbandry are within strict guidelines.
Duckett Truffieres have respected and adhered to all Provincial and Federal import/export, food production and agricultural rules, regulations and guidelines. We strongly support the need to protect B.C. from invasive, predatory and lethal plant pests and diseases found in other countries. We are proud to inoculate hardy B.C. stock with certified clean spore knowing we have established the stewardship Canadians trust. We have also cultivated a starting stock for the long-term development of standards for Canadian Truffle quality and purity certification.
Media and market interest is high. Fresh truffles and value-added truffle products are in high demand. Digging too deep would disturb the next generation of truffles on young trees before they set spores, so in 2007 Duckett Truffieres only harvested a few kilograms to record tree production. As larger treed areas reach maturity production grows, but the growth of The Slow Food Movement and the 100-Mile Diet have increased the potential markets beyond what can be satisfied by one producing truffiere.
Duckett Truffieres are honoured to be the first place winners of the 2009 Mid-Island Science, Technology and Innovation Council (MISTIC) Award in the Food and Beverage category. The MISTIC annual awards were created to recognize and increase awareness of the diverse science, technology and innovation taking place in the mid island region of Vancouver Island.
In 2011 the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 the global “International Year of Forests” (IYF). We are celebrating the theme of “Forests For People” promoted by Natural Resources Canada. We encourage everyone to plant and nurture trees and offer a variety of inoculated truffle host trees suitable for small urban lots to large rural agricultural endeavours.
DUCKETTS LEAD THE WAY IN CANADIAN TRUFFICULTURE
Growing and inoculating hardy B.C. host trees, offering seedling trees for sale, harvesting Canada’s 1st Black Perigord Truffles (2007) and value adding keep us looking forward to leading the way in development of Canada’s truffle-growing industry.
Strong family support and involvement ensures that as Grant and Betty approach their next retirement the family members are well educated and practised in all aspects of establishing new truffieres, maintaining and improving the truffle orchard and pursuing value-added opportunities.
IN THE COMMUNITY
Duckett Truffieres is happy to have donated ten native Garry Oak and Hazelnut truffle-inoculated host trees to the 33rd annual Coombs Farmers’ Institute Annual Spring Auction. This auction raises funds for scholarships for students continuing with an agricultural career.
We are happy to have donated Garry Oak truffle host trees to the UBC Botanical Garden where they are planted in the Garry oak meadow and woodland area as part of a set of North American gardens.
Phone or Fax 1-250-586-5133
Email Duckett Truffieres
Grant and Betty Duckett
400 Lowry’s Road,
Parksville, B.C., V9P 2B5