Unique truffle-hunting team: 'Connie's got a superhuman nose'
CORVALLIS, Ore. - John Getz has been truffle hunting with his Labrador Retriever Chloe for 3 years.
"Its fun. It's magical," Getz said. "I mean there's no more beautiful form of foraging than harvesting truffles with a dog."
Unless you're lucky enough to harvest truffles with your wife.
Truffle hunting teams are usually a two part operation, consisting of a truffle hunter and a truffle dog. But man and man's best friend made room for one more in this unique Oregon truffle trio.
In a secret truffle orchard somewhere outside of Corvallis, Connie Getz waved a truffle under her nose.
"There's a chocolatey smelling one," she said. "There's a fruity smelling one. Sort of a pineapple."
Connie displayed three golf-ball sized, dirt-encrusted truffles in the palm of her hand, dropping one on the forest floor as she bagged the others.
But John's wife wasn't tagging along to gather the truffles he hunted.
"I mean Connie can smell a worm in a truffle, and I'm not kidding," John said.
At the age of 18, Connie started losing her vision. She is now legally blind.
"We have a really kind of a neat trio because Connie's got a superhuman nose and so that really helps with this whole thing that we've got going," John said.
John said Connie fine-tuned their dog Chloe to smell only the ripest of truffles.
Oregon truffles are only beginning to rebuild their reputation in the culinary world. Getz said inexperienced truffle rakers gave them a bad name by selling under-ripened truffles to chefs.
"For years they were just treated like bags of rocks," Getz said.
Now, Getz gets $80 to $100 per quarter pound for his trio-hunted truffles.
The greatest fruit of their labor, however, is a different luxury: Spending time together.
"We get rave reviews for all the truffles we get with my wife, Connie," John said. "I am really fortunate."