New England Acorn Cooperative

A Gathering Place for the Acorn Community

RESCHEDULED to 10/2/2018 – Acorn Workshop at D Acres

In honor of one just departed,  the 9.2/2018 acorn processing workshop will be held next month: 10.7.2018

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Talk about food not to be missed….

Gleaning  – the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest, is a practice described in the Hebrew Bible that became a legally enforced entitlement…. (Wikipedia)

Are you familiar with the Boston Area Gleaners?  They harvest surplus farm crops and donate to dozens of area food banks, meal programs, & low-income markets, preventing waste and nourishing local families. Tonight’s special dinner at Mei Mei in Boston is an  “ALLocal dinner”  served to raise awareness around the benefits and challenges of seasonal cooking and promote local agriculture and seafood, by highlighting local food and local food systems. The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts (SBN) defines local as the New England regional food system.  Come, enjoy and glean something about gleaning in the Boston Area Gleaner‘s area!

TICKETS

Location: Mei Mei Restaurant, 506 Park Drive, Boston, MA 02215
Website: http://www.meimeiboston.com/
Time: 5:30-6:00PM Registration, Social, Introductions by Chef and Farmer
6:00-8:00PM Dinner
Menu: 8 family style dishes
Travel: Closest MBTA Stop: Fenway T. Street parking is metered.
Beneficiary: Boston Local Food Program

Excellent permaculture article about acorns…

In addition to an excellent article about bringing acorns to the table, the print version of the zine permaculture (issue 9 Summer 2018 ) also has a nice article about D Acres – check it out!  In person, join us there for our 9/2/2018 acorn processing workshop :-)

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OAK everybody, come learn how to make acorn flour – it’s fun!

Acorns are coming & we want to share safe and simple ways to process them into  delicious foods and beverages!

Join us Sunday September 2nd 1PM at beautiful D Acres Organic Farm and Educational Homestead for gathering walk and processing workshop.

Come early to explore, the fabulous “All You Should Eat” Farm breakfast starts at 10am!

TO REGISTER: Call 603-786-2366 & save your seatSee you there!

DAcres Acorn Workshop9.2.2018

Acorn Festival Fun at D Acres!

Once in a blue moon, we post something so late…its almost not OaK: Belated and BIG THANKS to awesome hosts and participants of the 1st Annual Acorn Festival at D Acres Permaculture Farm & Homestead December 2017.

After the fantastic Farm Feast breakfast,  the mighty acorn was celebrated from soup to nuts with a gathering walk, processing tools & demonstrations, acorn dishes & oak’d drinks to sample, and recipes to review:  it was a celebration to re-new appreciation for an ancient food.  

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Our walk around the local oaks to discuss judging a “good” (for eating) acorn from a “bad” one, tools & techniques for gathering efficiently, and considerations for care in the areas one gathers from –  confirmed that wildlife had thoroughly gleaned this harvest at D Acres! Fortunately, we had acorns from the Commonwealth, Maine, and Vermont in tow…

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So we were soon back in the beautifully warm D Acres kitchen space for hands-on experience with the “float test” (sorting good from bad),  cleaning, and cracking open the acorns with hammers, stones, and the DaveBuilt nut-cracker…

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Then we had cookies!

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And bread, and pudding.  Acorn books and recipes were perused, contests were won for largest and smallest acorns and art. See the Resource Page for the presentation/how to.

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It was nuts, and good fun – thank you EVERY ONE!

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We look forward to new friends and recipes at the table for the 2nd annual  ACORN FESTIVAL at D ACRES, following the fabulous Farm Feast…  Meantime, may your 2018 be full of good people and nuts!

xox Deb & Daniela

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btw, was fueled back to the Commonwealth by the best cup of brewed beans to be found around – don’t miss a chance to check out Lucky’s Coffee Garage on the green in Lebanon on your way to or from D Acres!

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Roots of the word “acorn”…

Wikipedia says the word acorn (earlier akerne, and acharn) is related to the Gothic name akran, which had the sense of “fruit of the unenclosed land”. The word was applied to the most important forest produce, that of the oak. … The current spelling (emerged 15c.-16c.), derives from association with ac (Old English: “oak”) + corn. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acorn)

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The OED provides this tale: : The formal history of this word has been much perverted by ‘popular etymology.’ OE. æcern neut., pl. æcernu, is cogn. w. ONor. akarn neut. (Dan. agern, Norw. aakorn), Dutch aker ‘acorn,’ OHG. ackeran masc. and neut. (mod.G. ecker, pl. eckern) ‘oak or beech mast,’ Goth. akran ‘fruit,’ prob. a deriv. of Goth. akr-s, ONor. akr, OE. æcer ‘field,’ orig. ‘open unenclosed country, the plain.’

Hence akran appears to have been originally ‘fruit of the unenclosed land, natural produce of the forest,’ mast of oak, beech, etc., as in HG., extended in Gothic to ‘fruit’ generally, and gradually confined in Low G., Scand., and Eng., to the most important forest produce, the mast of the oak. (See Grimm, under Ackeran and Ecker.) In Ælfric’s Genesis xliv. 11, it had perhaps still the wider sense, a reminiscence of which also remains in the ME. akernes of okes.

Along with this restriction of application, there arose a tendency to find in the name some connexion with oak, OE. ác, north. akeaik. Hence the 15th and 16th c. refashionings ake-cornoke-cornake-hornoke-horn, with many pseudo-etymological and imperfectly phonetic variants. Of these the 17th c. literary acron seems to simulate the Gr. ἄκρον top, point, peak.

The normal mod. repr. of OE. æcern would be akernakren, or ? atchern as already in 4; the actual acorn is due to the 16th c. fancy that the word corn formed part of the name.  (from https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/140177/what-is-the-origin-of-acorn)

Roots of such words do run deep, no? 😉

So, what is the acorn lore, symbolism, significance in your family, culture…future? Irregardless (as they say in the Commonwealth) have fun with it!

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Here is a wonderful way to learn more about humans relationship to oaks:

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If you order through Amazon, we’d appreciate your choosing to contribute toward the New England Acorn Cooperative, “A gathering Place For the Acorn Community” Thanks & blessings!

NOFA Summer Workshop done & FUN!

New England Acorn Cooperative Arborist Timothy Ryan  and Forager/Herbalist Danielle McDonald got cracking and gave a fun and informative acorn processing workshop at the 43 Annual NOFA (Northeast Organic Farmer Association)* Conference at Hampshire College on August 11-13th.

We’ll spare the words and let the pictures speak – with BIG THANKS to Tim and Dani for travel, set-up, workshop, tool demonstrations, acorn bread breaking, and again – Dani for the wonderful photos!

Processing hand-out below at bottom, with thanks to author & acorn hunter Myles Green for development, editing,  & encouraging creative commons publication.

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Tim brought his favorite gathering tool –

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Various methods of cracking an acorn were tested…

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The DaveBuilt Cracker… (and display on table behind – of acorns at various stages of processing for consumption)..

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The acorn bread was a hit (after the cookies were gone…) :-)

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*The NOFA Summer Conference is a three day solutions-oriented annual celebration of the grassroots organic movement. Gardeners, farmers, growers and food-lovers from across the Northeast meet to share inspiration and ideas for organic food, farming, health, activism, and beyond. With an array of workshops, seminars, exhibits, food and fun, learning becomes a community action.

NOFA gives us all a place to gather ideas, seeds and new friends… Be sure to check out the Winter 2018 NOFA Conference in Worcester.

 

Next acorn workshop (& 1st New England Acorn Cooperative Festival) will be Sunday, December 3rd at D Acres in NH.  Details coming soon!

 

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Tree to Table – Fruit of the Mighty Oak

DATE: Sunday, October 15, 2017 11AM-1PM

Are all species of oaks used to make flour? Fall is the best time of year to collect acorns from the forest floor.  Let’s go out in search of the right size acorn to harvest, prepare and then use for making flour.  Come get your questions answered and learn how to best dry and grind your own!  Wondering what to bring to your next potluck?  Join Arborist Timothy Ryan to learn techniques of turning acorns from the oak tree into a nutrient dense flour for consumption. We will review collection, sorting, shelling and leaching methods that anyone can do at home to make a gourmet flour.

LOCATION: Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate Canton, MA

COST: Trustees of the Reservation Member: $5; Nonmember: $10. Children free.

Please pre-register online.

Contact Information: 508.636.4693 x5003 bradley@thetrustees.org

Time for Oak Leaf Tea (Kombucha Style)

A gift of oak leaf kombucha from Adelaide inspired us to take some of our own ongoing (green tea) kombucha  brew into the woods with young red and white oak leaves.

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We experimented with freshly picked washed leaves, fresh leaves that had been blanched (steeped briefly in boiling water), and dried pressed leaves. The best tasting results came from the blanched, and is as pretty as kombucha can be…

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(perhaps a look only a kombucha mother could love)…

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Bloomin’ acorns

Birds song and pollen in the air these days, and many folks wonder “what are these caterpillar-like things all over the ground?”  Some of those are spent oak catkins (other trees  such as birch and willow produce catkins too). Other fun oak facts & folklore.

Oaks are monoecious – a single oak tree produces both male flowers (in the form of “catkins”) hanging down to allow wind to take their pollen to any receptive female flowers  on another branch of the same tree, or any oak flower in the vicinity. Female flowers are harder to spot and appear (where you would expect a bud to be) as a fuzzy three-lobed stigma with an egg shaped ovary beneath. Thanks to Bob Klips for posting this great image of a female oak flower.

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Though oaks  (the flowering plant genus Quercus) include some of America’s most ecologically and economically important trees (approximately 255 “new world” lineage – of an estimates over 600 worldwide) and provide significant ecosystem services (woody plant biomass, biodiversity, ecology and nutrient cycling), the biodiversity of this genus is poorly understood. Andrew Hipp, Senior Scientist at the Morton Arboretum studies the basic question of how oak traits, distributions, and diversity evolve in response to changes in habitat and climate. For more information about his “quercky” work –  see the Morton Arboretum Lab site.

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male oak flowers (catkins)

 

May everyone have an awesome and allergy free spring experience!

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