Lifestyle

Iraqi truffle hunters unearth desert harvest

SAMAWA DESERT, Iraq – “Here it is, the truffle, a blessing from God!” Zahra Buheir fastidiously digs out a desert truffle from the sandy earth and exhibits it off between her calloused fingers.

“Rain came and then thunder, bringing truffles up to the surface,” the 72-year-old mentioned.

Braving the tough climate of Iraq’s southern desert, in addition to left-behind land mines, Buheir and her household of seven have spent weeks trying to find the seasonal truffles which have supplied them with an earnings for generations.



Fetching its hunters as much as $7 a kilo this year, Iraq’s desert truffle is cheaper than its rarer European cousins that may price lots of of {dollars} or extra a kilo.

But with Iraq’s financial system in disaster, the native selection are a giant assist to Buheir and her household.

This year the rain got here late and Buheir might solely discover a few kilo of truffles a day, one tenth of what she would dig up in a very good year.

Turning over stones and poking the earth along with her naked fingers, Buheir’s granddaughter, 5-year-old Riyam, accompanied her mother and father to study a commerce and the desert life-style.

“When there is no work, truffles are a source of income. And we are happy here,” mentioned Riyam’s father Mohsen Farhan, who cherishes the weeks he spends together with his household of their tent within the desert.

Fetching its hunters up to $7 a kilo this year, Iraq’s desert truffle is cheaper than its rarer European cousins that can cost hundreds of dollars or more a kilo. But with Iraq’s economy in crisis, the local variety are a big help to families.
Fetching its hunters as much as $7 a kilo this year, Iraq’s desert truffle is cheaper than its rarer European cousins that may price lots of of {dollars} or extra a kilo. But with Iraq’s financial system in disaster, the native selection are a giant assist to households.
Reuters

Learning to hunt for truffles nowadays additionally includes understanding the desert’s risks.

“We are afraid of wolves, there are a lot here. And there are mines. A while ago, someone died,” Farhan mentioned.

Remnants from the Gulf battle in 1991, unexploded units beneath the earth may very well be mistaken for truffles by the inexperienced eye.

Every few days, Hussein Abu Ali, drives into the desert from the town of Samawa to take the truffles to market.

There, Ali Tajj al-Din sells them at public sale, every with a special title in response to measurement.


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