About your Hosts/ Presenters
Mel & Gavin Booth of Australian Truffle Traders are one of Australia’s most experienced truffle families. They have been a part of the truffle industry in Western Australia for 17 years; pioneering the explosive growth of the Australian Truffle industry into international markets, hands-on from growing and distribution, to dog training and hunting. Gavin, Mel, and their son Brin, value a place on the land knowing that shortcuts don’t work. Nurturing their soil, trees, and environment is key to the perfect truffle.
Gavin Booth hails from the West Highlands of Scotland. The son of a deerstalker he grew up on country estates, well grounded in life on the land, before serving with the Royal Navy. Mel Booth grew up in Australia and started her working life in the vineyards of the Margaret River Wine region. For many years, Mel was an expert dog trainer and handler, serving with the Australian Customs Service.
As farmers, they understand what it takes to create a successful and sustainable business in the truffle industry, from farming and nutrient adjustment to dogs and harvesting, to tourism operations. Mel & Gav have been growing Perigord Truffles in Manjimup for over 17 years, and last year harvested over 1,300 lbs on their own farm, and over 2.5 Tons of Perigord Truffle with Australian Truffle Traders.
Simon & Linnet Cartwright – Owners and operators of Cartwright Truffiere since 2007. Cartwright truffiere is one of Oregon’s oldest-producing orchards finding our first truffle on a 5-year-old oak in 2014. In January 2016 it provided the Grit restaurant in Eugene with the first commercial Perigord truffle ever produced in the PNW. Since then, production has continued to increase with the orchard providing truffle to the PNW region and further abroad, (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas etc.). In 2019, the Willamette Valley Truffle Company was launched to provide coaching services and marketing assistance to other small farms in the PNW. You can see more of their story here.
Alana McGee– Owner Truffle Dog Company. Alana has been involved in the truffle industry since 2008, and has been leading the way helping growers teach their own dogs to hunt for truffles as well as supplying establishments with both native and European species of truffles. Based in Seattle, WA, Alana and the team at Truffle Dog Co. are active in their support of the domestic wild truffle industry (with their own teams and dogs harvesting wild truffles), as well as providing canine detection services and surveys for truffieres. Alana works to help growers establish Culinary & Agritourism programs, facilitating business planning and go-to-market strategies tailored to farms’ specific needs. Alana’s expertise is canine scent detection training specifically for the domestic truffle industry as well as harvesting practices and commercialization for truffle orchards.
She holds an MBA from the University of Washington and is certified by the internationally recognized Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. See more at www.truffledogcompany.com