New England Acorn Cooperative

A Gathering Place for the Acorn Community

Author: NEACoop (page 1 of 4)

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.  


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…


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!


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.


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!


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


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

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!


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


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.



Tim brought his favorite gathering tool –





Various methods of cracking an acorn were tested…




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…) :-)


*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!




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

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.


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…




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


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.


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.

PastedGraphic-2 female oak flowers

male oak flowers (catkins)


May everyone have an awesome and allergy free spring experience!

Happy Arbor Day & New Moon to all you Nutty Buddies

If you can’t plant a tree, at least go out and hug one – they literally make it possible for us to breathe – among other things.

Thanks to Bill Whipple, Tom Celona and the folks of the Nutty Buddy Collective, the New England Acorn Cooperative has 18 special oak saplings to plant this spring. If all goes well, they will be producing acorns the size of golfballs in a couple decades.

In honor of Arbor Day, two of these special oaks are going to the Eleanor Bradley Estate to be planted as part of an educational walk on the grounds tomorrow with Tim Ryan and Danielle McDonald. The rest are shared out to cooperative members throughout New England, along with a plethora of acorns collected and shared by Trustees Horticulturalist of the Ames and Bradley Estates Jeff Thompson –  thank you Jeff!

Permaculture students of one field or another, we are following suggestions that it is also the “right” time (lunarly)  to plant ’em for the planet. Thanks to Myles Green and Alvin Kho for sorting nuts (and sharing acorn bread, fresh juice, and lovely yummy cheeses)  last week in preparation.


“Between New Moon and Full Moon… you can plant any plant that produces fruit and seeds. In the orchard, plant trees. Planting by the moon phases Calendar for April 2017

Cycles of the moon have influenced planting historically in cultures all over the world… Permaculture co-originator David Holmgren’s writes:

“good design depends on a free and harmonious relationship to nature and people, in which careful observation and thoughtful interaction provide the design inspiration, repertoire and patterns.”

New moon also the time to plant ideas… What do you think?

Thoughts become things…get growing!

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Check out what the Nutty Buddies are up to with their Acornucopia project, indeed a go!


Celebrate Arbor Day – Plant an Oak!

Saturday April 29th 10am – noon.

Join New England Acorn Cooperative Educator and Massachusetts Certified Arborist Timothy Ryan in planting a special Oak sapling on the grounds of the Bradley Estate. Learn the benefits of planting a tree while we show you the proper way to plant and care for it during the first three years. We will also take a light hike through the grounds to learn the basics of identifying different species of trees and their part in the local ecosystem. Meet at 10am at the Main House and we’ll go from there. Dress for the weather!

Trustee Members $5 Non-members $10 Children FREE
508-636-4693 x 5003

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Coffee Break – Acorn coffee!

As soon as Carol shared the story of Lithuanian Acorn Coffee,  Deb processed the first batch and shared the creamy nutty taste (and then a short workshop) with me.  It’s time consuming, but what a delicious and fragrant hot beverage!  Powerful refreshment – no caffeine :-)


Instructions for New England Cooperative Acorn Coffee (Lithuanian Style):

1 cup dried, hulled, and cracked acorn (too-large pieces won’t leach well) into the pot with 3 cups  whole milk.


Bring to boil then lower flame/heat to simmer for an hour – stirring regularly so acorns don’t burn on the bottom. The mixture will thicken considerably. Enjoy the caramel smells, but don’t taste, well I now know…  yuck-o!


Cool enough so it is not a burn danger then pour “porridge” through colander – use cheesecloth if you don’t have a wire one so you don’t lose small bits) and rinse thoroughly (rub with fingers or wooden spoon to free clingy bits) under warm to cool water to remove all milky substance that has tannins bound in it.  Remember, smells good, tastes horrible – down the drain or compost with all milk by-product…

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Pat milk-boiled acorn bits dry and transfer to skillet to slow roast til they are toasty-brown.


Cool and store until you’re ready to make a cup. Use coffee grinder to pulverize.


To make acorn coffee, take 1 part water and 2 parts sweet cream or milk. Add 3 teaspoons of acorn grounds into the boiling liquid, and boil for 2-3 minutes.

Add more milk or cream and sugar to taste.



May you be healthy, may you be happy, may you live with ease!

Tree of Life and …

This change of season highlights the cycle we are in.  As we plan clean-up activities for Earth Day and planting oak saplings on Arbor Day this spring, we consider our eventual return to earth too…

The Acorn Cooperative’s mission includes education for care and repair of the earth, and we have learned that one of the most heinous polluters of our ground and water are the unnecessary chemicals and materials used in “modern” burial practices…

Natural or Green Burial is a growing art and science. Please, take time to educate yourself about how much good you can do by planning responsibly. Thank you Marcie for sharing this lovely company’s idea for gentle return –  versus needless  toxic chemicals, steel, wood and concrete in mother earth…

Behold, an Acorn Urn.


For more information about natural or green burial try:  New England Green Funeral the Green Burial Council.  Also, be aware of Home Funeral arrangements, it can be a most healing process.

Take heart, take root :-)

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