New England Acorn Cooperative

A Gathering Place for the Acorn Community

Category: Community (page 1 of 3)

Acorn Festival Thanks and Oak Moon Blessings

A mast year of international and local acorn lovers, oak specialists, new Board members, and mentor Marcie Mayer gathered at D Acres  on Sunday December 8th to share, celebrate, eat –  and compete with mighty (& mini) acorns again!

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Thanks to D Acres for hosting  in that beautiful bright & warm space, bravo to all who brought  oak art, acorn foods & beverages,  music,  and more.  Exciting  projects  in the works for 2020, with incoming board members: Marcie Mayer, Myles Green,  Heather Russo and Carol Ayoob. Details soon!

Meantime, old friends and new folks processed acorns together, broke acorn bread, spooned acorn mushroom stew, and raised barrel-aged beverages…

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Farmer Rich made fresh oak leaf tea.

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Oak / horticultural scholar (& outstanding chef) Jeffrey Thompson served stew and spoke on ecology and health of New England’s oak population.

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Younger sports hunted for golden acorns, colored fantastically and weighed in with some whoppers (though were soundly trounced by a Greek titan acorn)..

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An enormous Kean Oak acorn clearly dwarfed the New England Red Oak acorn submissions – almost double the size.  BRAVO!  No shame in losing this contest to “Acorn Lady” mentor Marcie and her harvest from the island forest she’s helped to steward and protect.

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Raffles prizes of Oak tree puzzle and Mossy Oak bluetooth speakers went home with good lookers and listeners.

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Participation on Sunday was beyond beautiful! Please  dryads, grow and share your enthusiasm for  the science,  social, nutritional, medicinal, and natural fun of this fruit of the oak. See you in the new year!

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Incidentally, one of the many names for December’s full moon is  “The Oak Moon“…

December full Moon

The Maine Farmer’s Almanac first published Indian names for the full Moons in the 1930’s. According to this almanac, the Algonquin tribes of what is now the northern and eastern United States named the full Moon in December or the last full Moon of the fall season the Cold Moon, due to the long, cold nights. An old European name for this Moon is the Oak Moon, a name that some believe ties back to ancient druid traditions of harvesting mistletoe from oak trees first recorded by the Roman historian Pliny the Elder in the 1st century CE. The term “druid” may derive from the Proto-Indo-European roots for “oak” and “to see,” suggesting druid means “oak knower” or “oak-seer.” Europeans also called this the Moon before Yule. Yule is an interesting celebration to learn more about…

As the full Moon closest to the winter solstice, Europeans named this the Long Night Moon. The plane of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth nearly matches the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. When the path of the Sun appears lowest in the sky for the year, the path of the full Moon opposite the Sun appears highest in the sky. For the Washington, DC, area, on Wednesday evening, December 11, 2019, moonrise will be at 4:35 PM, sunset will be 11 minutes later at 4:46 PM, the Moon will reach its highest point of the night (72.2 degrees above the horizon) just after midnight at 12:02 AM on Thursday morning, sunrise will be at 7:17 AM, and moonset will be 16 minutes later at 7:33 AM EST. The Moon will be in the sky for a total of 14 hours 58 minutes, with 14 hours 13 minutes of this when the Sun is down, making Wednesday night into Thursday morning, December 11 to 12, 2019, the longest full Moon night of the year.

from: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/1128/december-2019-the-next-full-moon-is-the-cold-moon/

A good time to quietly contemplate the year past, dream a bit and envision where you wish to find yourself in times to come. Blessings…

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!

 

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