In the early 1980s a Frenchman by the name of Francois Picart moved to Dripping Springs with a plan to cultivate the elusive and tres expensive truffle (the aromatic fungus revered by chefs and foodies around the world). Truffles apparently love to grow in limestone, which we've certainly not shortage of, and after a French testing laboratory deemed the Hill Country soil a superb habitat for growing truffles, Picart planted truffle-inoculated oak seedlings around Dripping Springs. For reasons known only to nature, truffles grow around the roots of oak and hazelnut trees. Picart dreamed of making Dripping Springs the truffle capital of the world. To the best of our knowledge, some of the inoculated oaks were planted off of Prochnow and some around Bell Springs. We recently spoke with a new property owner on Prochnow who says the fencing Picart put up around the trees still stands, but none of the trees survived. On Bell Springs, however, some of the trees are reported to have survived.
We are fascinated by this truffle legend. If anyone knows more about the story please drop us a line!
The New York Times wrote about Picart and his truffle quest in 1984, you can read the article here.
UPDATE 11-25-08: When we originally posted we spelled Picart's name as "Francois Picard". However, it appears the correct spelling is actually Picart. This has been corrected.