CAROLINA ALUMNI REVIEW 23
some — in the hope that my grandparents’
farm, once my girlhood playground, would
someday generate enough revenue to
finance a comfortable retirement.
Crazy? Perhaps. But I’d done my due
diligence. When my sister, Karen Millers
Allen ’ 78, and I inherited the fields, woods
and ponds we’d so happily explored as kids,
I saw the land as sacred ground, not a sal-
able commodity, but a largely undeveloped
asset. Its only revenue came from leasing
out the tillable fields, a sum that barely
covered the annual taxes. Couldn’t we do
better? My sister was happy to leave well
enough alone. And her reasoning made
sense. She lived in Ohio, and I was way out
in California. The logistics didn’t bode well.
Then one day I came across a magazine
article about a man who’d produced French
Perigord truffles, never before grown in
North America, on his farm in Hillsborough, N.C.
I didn’t know much about truffles at
this point. I’d never eaten them, never even
thought about eating them. Like Maseratis,
Fabergé eggs and palatial summer estates,
they were simply a luxury well beyond my
station, a perk peculiar to bluebloods — the
Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, the Kar-dashians. Not belonging to such a wealthy
clan, I didn’t understand the big fuss over a
The magazine article I found confirmed
that truffles sold for hundreds of dollars a
pound. It went on to explain that they grew
underground in symbiosis with the roots of
certain kinds of trees — trees that could be
grown in North Carolina!
Trees! The perfect crop for a long-distance farmer! I couldn’t wait to share
the idea with my sister and my husband,
Bob (Robert E. Younger ’ 75). But neither
echoed my enthusiasm.
“Agriculture is risky,” Karen said, speak-