Oregon truffles: 'A treasure that's grown right in our backyard'

      EUGENE, Ore. - The Oregon Truffle Festival brings lots of people - and money - to Eugene.

      Each package and event is priced differently, from the $295 truffle dog training to the $695 Epicurious Gourmand.

      "Some of the packages are valued at $1,000," said Lisa Lawton with Travel Lane County. "This is a treasure that's grown right in our backyard, so it's really brought a lot of attention to our culinary arts."

      Those events are all sold out: If you want to experience the festival, the Oregon Truffle Marketplace on Sunday at the Hilton Eugene is your best bet.

      That event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door and include truffle tastings, artisan foods, fresh truffles, a truffle dog demonstration, and lecture series. A $20 ticket includes all of the above plus wine tastings featuring eight or more of Oregon's best wineries.

      Susan Debonis from Hood River came for the dog training. She said truffle hunting is an outing that gives her family "a purpose to be in the woods."

      "We'll get a dog and we'll go hunting for truffles together," she said, "and have good truffles to eat."

      Patrick Stull of Sunnyvale, California, traveled to the festival to pursue his budding interest in truffles.

      "My friend's wedding in Germany, they served white truffle," Stull said. "I didn't really know what it was, and when I ate it they said that was 100 euros right there - and I was like, 'What can you grow that's 100 euros?'"

      Festival goers learn about truffles - and benefit the local economy.

      "People are staying in hotels, they're out visiting attractions, they're eating out in restaurants," Lawton with Travel Lane County said. "We have a whole city with culinary professions involved in this event, so it does impact the community far and wide."