The season premiere of Unearthed was Friday, May 1st, 2015. This Discovery Channel TV Show aired right after Bering Sea Gold. The first thing I noticed about the show was the mentioning of truffles. When I think about truffles I think about the chocolate candies you can get in a box. The truffle hunters in Oregon are looking for Black Truffles or Tuber melanosporum. Black truffles are one of the most expensive edible mushrooms in the world. They look like this:
Roy Siegfried and Terry Drazdhoff – “The Old Timers”
In the season premiere they actually use their pig “Linus” to look for black truffles. These are by far the oldest truffle hunters on the show from what I have seen. They are not pleased with the fact that people are trying to steal their truffles. They have to follow their pig Linus closely so she doesn’t eat their profits. The explain that tiny truffles are called nickels and dimes. They hunt at “Rooster Rock”. A great quote was “I haven’t seen a horse driving a Cadillac in weeks.” The explain a milk jug full of truffles is worth about $500 and one normal sized truffle can be worth $10 or $15. We learn from these two that the most important tool for a truffler is the rake.
Ty Hale and Levy Schwartzendruber – “The Young Generation”
Ty and Levy claim to have made around $100,000 a season but they are still very young and might have a thing or two to learn from the old timers.
Richie Maxfield – “The Lone Wolf”
This is the guy with the grey hair and grey beard. He is trying to find the “record black truffle” again at Old Faithful. He shows a picture of the truffle that was sold for $80 as it was well over one pound. He is going to use the water from the pond to grow some very large truffles. He is using a system to try to get water into the ground because of the drought in Oregon.
Justin Anderson – “Oregon’s Truffle Kingpin”
This is the guy that is working out of Falls City. He has been working the area for about ten years and is one of the lead characters of the show. He is trying to make certain no one else comes on his land and tries to take his truffles. He uses a camera to take video of truffle poachers. He consistently has a dip in his mouth. Many people will be searching for what is in Justin’s mouth on Unearthed. It is highly likely this is Skoal or Copenhagen. If anyone knows for sure, please feel free to comment below. He explains that a mature truffle smells like a fried potato. That would be quite the aroma.
He sells to many dealers because he has so many truffles. His main local dealer is “Doug”. He only offers $100 a pound which comes up to $8000. Later in the season the truffles could be worth up to $300 a pound.
TV Ratings for the Unearthed Discovery TV Show
It will be interesting to see the initial TV ratings for this show. There weren’t many competitors on this Friday night and it is an interesting premise for a show. I would imagine many people in Oregon are watching this series. At this point it looks like it is just going to get five episodes because that is all that was taped. I would imagine it could take off much in the same way that Moonshiners took off. I guess we will have to wait and see. Unearthed needs a crazy character like Jim Tom Hedrick and it is sure to take off.
Where to Find Truffles in the United States
From the quick research I did it looks like Oregon is truly the only place to grow truffles in the United States. I assume this is the case because of the wet weather. There are some areas in western North Carolina that are extremely wet so I wonder if truffles can be grown there. The wikipedia page states that black truffles are native to southern Europe. Most people watching the Discovery Channel TV Show Unearthed likely do not want to travel to southern Europe to grow some mushrooms. Who knows though?
How Much Do the Cast Members of Unearthed Make?
These “characters” obviously make money from their truffles but how much do they make per episode? I have no idea how much the cast members are making but it isn’t all that much. The true money is made through the exposure. Some of the smart marketers use their TV fame to sell all kinds of other stuff. The best thing they could do is to build a website. By not having a website before the show premieres the cast members are missing out on huge income potential. Troy Landry of Swamp People figured that out a very long time ago. If you know how much these cast members make per episode please feel free to comment below and let us know.
How Much are Black Truffles Worth?
On the show they seem to be selling black truffles for $160 to $200 a pound. That isn’t bad if you have an entire back yard full of truffles.