New Brunswick woman makes remarkable find of rare truffle in her backyard
KINGSTON, N.B. -- Peggy Cooper was working in the garden on her Kingston Peninsula property when she unearthed an unusual find.
"I didn't know what they were," Cooper said. "They weren't stones, they weren't mushrooms, they looked really different."
She soon found out she had made a remarkable and rare discovery of truffles in her own backyard.
They've been positively identified by Alfredo Justo, a curator of botany and mycology at the New Brunswick Museum.
"We tend to think about truffles in the context of the European species," Justo said. "We hear they're sold for astronomical prices, and they're common in Europe, but they're also present in North America."
Although it's been confirmed these are true truffles, what species they are remains a mystery.
Now, part of the donation made to the museum is on its way to the University of Florida for DNA sequencing.
"We know we have a lot of diversity of truffles in North America, but many species have just not been described yet," Justo said.
It was an exciting find for the scientific -- and culinary -- communities.
Chef Alex Haun of Kingsbrae Garden in St. Andrews, N.B., is getting some to cook with.
Usually, he says, cooking with truffles means sourcing them from the south of France or northern Italy.
"It's a great taste," Haun said. "It's unique, it's not per se a European-style white truffle, it definitely has some different notes which is great because it makes it unique, it makes it New Brunswick."