I like truffles as much as the next person, but this is a little ridiculous. The New York Times reports on a little truffle war happening down in North Carolina between two unlikely growers. And with truffles selling at upwards of $800 per pound, the stakes are high.

Susan Rice Alexander and Franklin Garland are both trying to cultivate black Perigord truffles (the most prized truffles are white and grow wild underground in Europe) and are embroiled in a fight over bad investments and saplings inoculated to grow the elusive fungus (if they grow at all).

According to the NYT in 2005 Ms. Alexander purchased $100,000 worth of saplings from Franklin Garland and then pledged to purchase even more trees for a truffle orchard she was trying to establish. She put down $45,000 towards this end. However, “…she ended up not wanting them, and Mr. Garland says he was stuck with more saplings than he could sell. The suit also claims that she did not pay the Garlands for the help they gave her setting up her business, Black Diamond French Truffles. Ms. Alexander says there was never a contract to buy those trees, and she wants her $45,000 back. ”

The suit is interesting in that it demonstrates high stakes of this cult-like food sub-section and sheds light on these growers effort to try and make North Carolina the truffle capital of the United States, and thus undercutting the European market for the fungus.

For the full article, go here.

Photo credit: Travis Dove for The New York Times