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Your Guide to Truffle Foraging in the Willamette Valley

By Matt Wastradowski
Why Choose a Guide? | Local Foraging Guides | Truffle Events

Every fall and winter, eager foragers across the Willamette Valley leash up their specially trained dogs and head into fir forests across the region—where they hope to dig up truffles that will eventually appear on dinner plates and in wine pairings at some of our most cherished eateries.

If you’ve been counting down the days to truffle season, you might want to track down the delicacy yourself. If so, here’s a guide to foraging for truffles in the Willamette Valley—what the hunt is like, some of the outfitters who can make it happen, and other ideas for more fully enjoying our beloved truffles.

Technically, anyone can forage for truffles in the Willamette Valley—but it’s difficult without some help. Here’s how a guide can help you have a memorable experience:

Local Knowledge

Your guide understands the local climate, terrain, flora, and fauna—so they know where to look (and when) for ripe truffles. In some cases, they may have relationships with private landowners who open the forests on their property—and know which forests received the most rainfall the previous spring and summer, making them especially fertile.

Trained Dogs

In recent years, dogs have become the preferred companion to truffle hunters worldwide; these four-legged friends dig lightly (if they dig at all), leaving behind no trace of their presence and preserving the delicate ecosystem. These dogs are trained specifically to track down the scent of ripe truffles, so you won’t waste time digging where the delicacies aren’t.

Tips and Resources

Your outfitter knows their way around truffles and will be happy to offer tips on storing, caring for, and eventually eating your finds. And in most cases, they can tell you which nearby restaurants and wineries are serving truffle-infused dishes in case you’d like to deepen your experience.

If you want to try truffle foraging this season, we’d recommend enlisting the help of a local outfitter who knows where to look, has the necessary tools, and likely has a dog that’s been trained to sniff out ripe truffles. Here are a few tour guides who can help with your next truffle hunt:

New in 2024, the Oregon-owned First Nature Tours is offering an authentic truffle hunting expedition lead by an expert truffle hunter and their friendly, reliable truffle dog. The excursion features a dive and dig course focused on adventure and education. It also includes an on-site picnic lunch and wine tasting.  

Or try the outfitter’s Mushroom Foraging Expedition, where an expert guide helps you identify various mushrooms, learn about ethical foraging practices, and lead a trip to find morels, king boletes, lobster, and other types of mushrooms.

The locally owned Black Tie Tours leads a pair of Truffle Hunting Tours—both of which cover the basics and include a guided trip into the woods. The Bougie Truffle Tromp includes a chauffeured tour, a light hike through Oregon backcountry and end at a luxurious local winery where a guest winemaker will pour their wines during lunch and tell you all about their process, history and what makes those wines special to them. The Rustic Truffle Tromp is like the offers a simple lunch of soup, sandwiches and cheese/charcuterie. 

Whether you’re getting your hands dirty (literally) or would rather immerse yourself in the Willamette Valley’s wider love affair with truffles, you’ll find plenty of seasonal events for making the most of this special time. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

The beloved Oregon Truffle Festival is among the Willamette Valley’s most popular culinary festivals each winter. All over the region, visitors enjoy North America’s only truffle dog competition, truffle-and-wine dinners, and other fun events.

Oregon Truffle Festival

Between January and March, Taste Newberg's Truffle Trail brings together truffle hunts, dinners crafted with (and inspired by) truffles, wine pairings, and other fun events that celebrate truffles around Newberg and Dundee in the heart of Oregon Wine Country.

Truffle Trail

Join the Oregon Truffle Festival and Willamette Valley Vineyards for a gala truffle dinner on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, 2024, at the winery near Salem. Each dinner includes a multi-course menu that showcases the delicate flavors of the truffle—along with curated wines from Willamette Valley Vineyards.

Gala Truffle Dinner

Your adventure begins with the official Willamette Valley Travel Guide. Request your complimentary printed guide or download a digital guide today.

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