New England Acorn Cooperative

A Gathering Place for the Acorn Community

Category: Community (page 1 of 3)

3rd Annual New England Acorn Festival

The 2019 Acorn Festival opens Sunday, December 8th at 1PM with acorn talk & tour through beautiful paths of D Acres. Topics of discussion will include New England Oak Ecology, health, and other forest news. We will identify how to tell a “good” (for eating) acorn from a “bad” one, tools & techniques for gathering efficiently (with a light footprint) and how to process for human consumption.

Festival activities and contests are FREEWe use eventbrite registration to gauge how much food to prepare –  so please REGISTER!

WHAT TO BRING: Dress for the weather (gloves, rain-coat, etc). We’ll have plenty of acorns to work with, but you are welcome to bring acorns you have gathered elsewhere. Been inspired? You can bring a submission for one or all of the acorn contests (see categories below).

COME EARLY FOR D ACRES ALL YOU SHOULD EAT FARM FEAST BREAKFAST (call D ACRES 603-786-2366 for breakfast details)

Acorn contest submissions may be entered on the day (12/8/19), and will be voted on by the day’s participants.

CONTESTS include:

• The Biggest (& Smallest) Acorn (s)

• Acorn drawing / photo (please bring in frame that can stand on table)

• Acorn poem / song (please bring typed copy for perusal by participants)

• Acorn sculpture or collage

• Acorn dishes/recipes (please bring printed list of ingredients for taster’s food sensitivity concerns)

Questions, or want to contribute to the celebration? Please use the eventbrite platform to communicate about this event, thanks!

The New England Acorn Cooperative is a young and burgeoning network of acorn enthusiasts from New England and beyond. We hold workshops on processing acorns, provide equipment for acorn-enthusiasts to process their own harvests, host acorn and wild-food dinners, and act as a support and educational network for anyone interested in oaks and their beautiful fruits.

Acorn Gathering & Processing Workshop

ACORN WORKSHOP
Sunday,  October 6th 2019 

Join us Sunday October 6th at D Acres in NH to share acorn lore, food, and FUN. Sunday’s activities will include an acorn gathering walk, and  demonstrations and how to process for human consumption. Make a day of it! (call ahead (603) 786-2366 ) COME at 10AM FOR D ACRES ALL YOU SHOULD EAT FARM FEAST BREAKFAST 

Sunday October 6th 2019 Acorn Workshop opens at 1PM with an acorn walk through beautiful paths of D Acres. Topics of discussion will include New England Oak Ecology and the practically universal cultural heritage of eating acorns. We’ll identify how to tell a “good” (for eating) acorn from a “bad” one, tools & techniques for gathering efficiently, and what “a light footprint” means.

WHAT TO BRING: Dress for the weather (gloves, rain-coat, etc). We’ll have plenty of acorns to work with, but you are welcome to bring acorns you have gathered elsewhere. The Cooperative also offers the use of the Davebilt nutcracker to the community at D Acres that day.

Acorn Event is FREE, please call ahead to register (603) 786-2366 .  ALL You Should Eat Farm Breakfast is 7:30-11am – check website for generous pricing.

Thanks for 2018

Slide1What a year,  thank you every body.  May 2019 be full of good people and things for all of us.

Keep calm and carry an acorn.

International Oak Society

While our work is with the woods in our neighborhoods, we are also members of The International Oak Society – which provides scientific, social and archival services for the naturally international Querc-y community. InterOakSoc

We treely are all connected… Climb aboard!

 

Acorn Festival Thanks and Fun

Wonderful folks came this weekend to share, celebrate, eat and compete with mighty (& mini) acorns!

Thanks to D Acres for hosting;  Jesse, Jeff, Myles, Ana, Rochelle and Deb for making it come together;  & all festival participants for curiosity,  kicking in, and continuing to share what you learned this Sunday about the science,  social, nutritional, and natural fun of this fruit of the oak!

Following an outstanding “All You Should Eat” D Acres Farm breakfast, activities included: a mini processing workshop,

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Browsing books and acorn articles,IMG_4514

Coloring paper acorns and oak leaves,
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The BIGGEST & LITTLEST (tied for tiny) Acorns!

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Acorn Art Contest Voting…

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Art Winner!IMG_4537

Action with the Davebuilt Nutcracker,IMG_4557

Processing points.

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Gourmet acorn and wild mushroom soup a la Jeff,  acorn crackers, two acorn breads, acorn cranberry autumn olive crisp, and acorn pudding,

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Myles making beautiful plates!

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Triple Cap Row -a board game with red vs white acorn caps,IMG_4607

and pinecones.IMG_4506

A treasure hunt for golden acorns,

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Community cracking and shelling acorns,

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Acorn Angels,  Yule logs and THANKS to donors for supporting the Cooperative!

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Wishing you all healthy happy holiday celebrations. Keep calm and carry an acorn!

Community acorn equipment to share, foods, and thanks.

It’s a hard nut to crack! That is why one of the Cooperative’s goals is to acquire, care for and share labor-saving equipment for some stages of acorn processing. At this stage, it’s cracking!

Next Sunday (12/2)  at the 2nd Annual Acorn Festival at D Acres – is also an opportunity for anyone to bring acorns that need cracking and use the Cooperative’s  DaveBuilt nutcracker – FREE!

Please message the Cooperative on FB  to schedule a time slot to process your acorns while you sample savory and sweet acorn recipes, vote on acorn art submissions, enter for raffle prizes,  play acorn games, and join the treasure hunt for a golden acorn! Participation is free, please register so we know how much food to prepare, thanks!

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Thanks and thoughts

Grateful for recent opportunities to break bread with friends and family,  and to learn from those who just observed the 49th National Day of Mourning. Check out the links and  start a conversation today  to shift our national mythology. 

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2nd Annual New England Acorn Festival

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ACORN FESTIVAL TICKETS

 

Calling all Acorn aficionados, enthusiasts and oak-nut neophytes – its time to celebrate the fall of them in New England! Join us at D Acres in NH to share acorn lore, food, and FUN. Sunday’s activities will include acorn arts and crafts and acorn food/recipes,  acorn art, contests and demonstrations of acorn gathering and how to process for human consumption. Make a day of it! (call ahead to) COME at 10AM FOR D ACRES ALL YOU SHOULD EAT FARM FEAST BREAKFAST 

The 2018 Acorn Festival opens at 1PM with an acorn walk through beautiful paths of D Acres. Topics of discussion will include New England Oak Ecology and the practically universal cultural heritage of eating acorns. We’ll identify how to tell a “good” (for eating) acorn from a “bad” one, tools & techniques for gathering efficiently, and what “a light footprint” means.

1:00-3:00 PM Arts and Crafts table for kids and inside demonstrations of acorn processing and storage methods, using equipment found in most households.

3:00 PM Contest Submission deadline and Treasure Hunt

3:30 PM Prizes awarded

WHAT TO BRING: Dress for the weather (gloves, rain-coat, etc). We’ll have plenty of acorns to work with, but you are welcome to bring acorns you have gathered elsewhere. The Cooperative offers the use of the Davebilt nutcracker to the community.  Been inspired? You can bring a submission for one or all of the acorn contests (see categories below).

Contest submissions may be entered on the day (12/2/18), and will be voted on by the day’s participants.

PRIZES will be awarded for:

  • The Biggest Acorn / Smallest Acorn
  • Acorn drawing / photo (please bring in frame that can stand on table)
  • Acorn poem / song (please bring typed copy for perusal by participants)
  • Acorn sculpture or collage
  • Acorn recipe (please print instructions for your creation AND bring cooked sweet or savory dish that can be sampled by judges)

Marvel: Good vs Bad acorns

GOOD vs BAD There are many factors, but our first criteria for “good” centers around size, condition, and convenienceSize is straightforward – the bigger the better (more nut/less shell as the diameter increases). Condition includes environment, maturity, blemishes, and pests.  Convenience includes collection location and requirements of storage and processing. Of the many, many varieties of oak  (see USDA Field Guide to Native Oak Species of North America)   we divide (for convenience) what we work with into “red” (pointy leaved) and “white” (smooth-lobed leaved) acorns. For processing and storage convenience (and higher oil ratios) we work mostly with red oak acorns.

 WHAT TO LOOK FOR The picture above shows acorns  from three different red oak trees  (gathered within 5 miles of each other) in various stages of “maturity” (greener generally means recently fallen, browner has dried a bit more) variations of elevation and sun exposure can account for differences in color.  For the picture above, we lined up the “good” acorns on top and the “bad” acorns beneath.

Good examples seem blemish-free, perhaps some mottling as they dry.

 Bad examples include: acorn weevil holes (that’s an exit hole folks), cracks, bulging in odd ways, any black or yuck looking stuff), and a cap that is stuck on tight. Generally, the caps should be off, or come off easily when you try to remove them.  A cap that is welded on usually indicates “inhabitants” – not good for human consumption (but good for art/craft).

 

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White oak acorns mature in one year, fall in autumn and sprout when they hit the ground.  If you work quickly, you can process a newly sprouted acorn for eating. White acorns can be easier to shell, and all the processing steps are essentially the same.  However, if you don’t work quickly to process or dry them –  they either sprout too far (for our purposes) or spoil.

Red oak acorns take two years to mature,  fall in autumn but do not sprout until the next spring. Their shell is a bit harder to crack, but we find them easier to dry and store. For this and a couple other reasons, we favor the red oak acorns so our travels, practices, recipes and workshops are all geared for that kind of nut.

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 WHAT TO LOOK FOR Lined up above, the “good” acorns on top and the “bad” acorns beneath.

Good examples seem blemish-free, perhaps some mottling as they dry.

Bad examples include: acorn weevil holes (that’s an exit hole folks), cracks, bulging in odd ways, any black or yuck looking stuff), and a cap that is stuck on tight. Generally, the caps should be off, or come off easily when you try to remove them.  A cap that is welded on usually indicates “inhabitants” – not good for human consumption (but good for art/craft).

We hand pick our harvests, doing a quick visual inspection before it goes in the basket. When we get the acorns home, we do a quick bath to knock the road dust off AND this bath also serves as a “Float Test since those that float are often buggy and can be returned to the wildlife larder immediately.

IMPORTANT All acorns you gather will need to be dried before storage or further processing. If you leave your collection in the bag or bucket you gathered in – it will spoil within a day or two. Acorns can be dried on sheets in the sun,  baking pans in the oven (below 110 degrees) or around the radiator or wood stove. Fully dried acorns  in shell will store for years, but even if you intend to process for food immediately – a little drying time will make them easier to shell and sort. For further processing steps, please see guides at the top of our Resources page. Happy acorn hunting!

 

Preparing and Cooking Acorns with the Boston Food Forest Coalition

Our next workshop – Sunday October 21st – with the Boston Food Forest Coalition takes the next step and includes cooking with freshly made acorn flour! Join us from 1PM to 4PM at the Hawthorne Youth & Community Center Inc: 9 Fulda St, Roxbury, Massachusetts 02119

Activities will include demonstration of steps from gathering and cracking acorns, leaching, drying and making flour with tools found in most kitchens. Then hands on cooking: acorn coffee, acorn cookies and acorn pudding.

Spaces are limited, reserve yours through the Boston Food Forest Coalition’s website or Eventbrite.  Donations to BFFC cover the cost of materials and ingredients and are greatly appreciated!IMG_8972

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