New England Acorn Cooperative

A Gathering Place for the Acorn Community

Category: Inspiration

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.

FullSizeRender

“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!

FullSizeRender (1)

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

 

The Longest Night…

…and pretty cold too, HAPPY SOLSTICE! A perfect time to catch up on all the news that is fit to print since the October Workshop.   Its been a busy and abundant  acorn harvest season.

img_6047

NUTS
Maine friends brought down many bags in early fall, Rusty Acorn Farm experienced an acorn mast year in New Hampshire, Oaklore in Vermont reported good gathering there  (though a short season), and the Commonwealth’s Cooperative members are still doing well, particularly around the ponds – where there are still some to be found. Tim one-upped us on the acorn weasel and is now driving an 18″ bag-a-nut ( making short work of nuts on lawns and pathways). He and Danielle also contributed drying racks  to the Coop, thank you both!

img_6569img_6560 img_6580

EQUIPMENT
The Cooperative’s Acorn Flour Mill is in operation!  We were delighted and humbled by the outstanding support and service we received from C.S. Bell Co. (online and over the phone) to make the mill ready for acorn flour production.  They were knowledgeable,  thorough,  respectful of our budget, and had excellent suggestions for optimizing what we had. The mill  is our first industrial piece of equipment (& she is loud) and is available to members who have 50lbs or more of dried (leached or unleached) acorns that need milling. What a little workhorse she is, and what a great company to work with – thank you Dan and Kiki at C.S. Bell Co! We are happy, happy customers.

img_5700 img_5400

NEW PEOPLE
More recently, through  meet-ups organized  by the Resilience Hub we’ve connected with new Maine and Massachusetts based acorn hunters, foragers, and food forest advocates. Thanks to Lisa and Elaine for opening and creating the opportunities, big ups to Evan Morgan for delicious Corn Acorn biscuits.

img_6463

MORE PEOPLE …and life changing loaves of acorn bread for  a potluck with  Boston Food Forest Coalition members.  These folks have and are doing amazing work in Boston neighborhoods – check them out!  So much to learn and share as the days grow longer now..

img_6321 fullsizerender

Finally!  First batch of 2016 flour is milled and ready to send westward in thanks for Harvesting Howard’s Acorn Chips and Bye You Bug :-)!

 

UPCOMING WORKSHOP
Our newest Cooperative member Myles Green brought folks together for a jam (and turkey) packed Friendsgiving, centered around hulling an enormous and beautiful basket of acorns.

img_6842

Myles has been working with acorns for a number of years ( studied with Arthur Haines among others) and will be doing a workshop on acorn processing at the Northeast Organic Farming Association NOFA Winter Conference, January 14th. Registration is through NOFA.  More details will be posted on the Events page when the final schedule is set.

myles-acorn-workshopPeace and plenty.

Come see Seed: The Untold Story

We missed the needed number to bring this to Hingham December 5th :-(… YET, here’s another chance to see it Thursday February 9th at 7:30pm  in Hanover, MA –  if you help Norwell Farms efforts to book it  by visiting  http://bit.ly/2dArEks  (link to Gathr Films)  & reserve a seat today!

seed

SEED: The Untold Story is a feature-length documentary featuring Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbell, and Winona LaDuke, following passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000-year old food legacy.

THEATRE LOCATION: 

Hanover Mall Cinemas 10
1775 Washington Street
Hanover, MA 02339

For Good Nuts Sakes!

Thank you to all who participated in the acorn gathering walk  at the Cabot Bradley estate on National Nut Day, and to the lovely Danielle for capturing great images of the intrepid gatherers out in the rain, doing an acorn float test, and discussing the health and wealth of the oak ecology in these parts with Tim, the Acorn Arborist.
image2Acorn quality discussion & gathering in the rain.

fullsizerender-10
Test driving a New England Acorn Cooperative “acorn weasel”  (behind Tim).

fullsizerender-12
The “Float Test” process (and customized Acorn Gathering head gear).

image3

More Acorn information, demonstration, and inspiration than you can shake a stick at.

acorn-goodies
Recipes will be shared with the participants through the Trustees :-)

Thank you everyone for Joining Us!

 

 

Hello Harvestin’ Howard!

We got a delicious treat this week when Harvestin’ Howard shared a batch of his amazing Acorn Sunflower Chips.
fullsizerender-1
Earthy brown, crisp and savory, they held salsa and cheese with ease, the nutty flavor smoothly coming through whatever we loaded it with (though I liked them plain – just to savor the acorn).

Howard has an interesting history with acorns (and other “wild” foods and animals) that includes comics and werewolves (I’ll let you google on that). He is gifted and generous with his knowledge and experience.  Unfortunately (for us) these chips are no longer on the market, though you may be able to barter… Cookies are in the works for this batch. Thank you Howard!!fullsizerender-2

 

Kudos Deb!

When technology wood, she wins!  So pleased that my amazing friend’s image was selected as the winner of the hand hide photo contest, bravo Deb! You continue to inspire me to look at things in a new way xoxXO  See @houseofswiss Instagram or  House of Swiss website for more…

Happy Arbor Day (and then some)

New England Acorn Cooperative members have a lot of pots on the stove right now and  we gathered  for Arbor Day to put a couple of those pots in the ground in honor of the mighty Oak – a tree that shelters thousands of species and produces more nuts than all other nut trees in america combined (1) and the amazing Acorn – that modest nut that feeds over 100 U.S vertebrate species (2) among other things…

NEACoop Arbor Day sign

Its a great day to call attention to these amazing beings…but far from enough, so  we’ll be stretching the celebration out over the rest of the spring – with seeds and seedlings to share, please let us know if you have a spot for a baby Oak!

 

 

We are students, and are grateful to be learning from the incredible folks at The Resilience Hub in Maine, D Acres in New Hampshire, and the Boston Food Forest in Massachusetts. We’d love to meet you at any one of their gatherings, and we welcome any oak lore you’d like to share with us or the Acorn community we are planting for the planet.

IMG_5772

 

We hope this site is (among other things) a launch pad for your exploration into Oaks and Acorns. Below are just a couple of sites we have learned and shared information from.  A “Resource” page with additional links are in the works…

 

 

 

(1) http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/acorn-facts

(2) http://blog.nwf.org/2013/10/the-wildlife-benefits-of-acorns-and-oaks/

 

O,  & did you know?…

Oak National Tree poster

 

Yes, the Oak is the national tree of the United States, per congressional vote!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth Day – Plant it for the Planet!

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

Our celebration this year involves sprouting some of our favorite acorns to plant for future acorn gatherers – feathered, furred or other (human) forager. Oaks are one of the most important trees in the New England area for providing habitats to  wildlife… and all those who know the magic meals acorns can make 😉

For now, the acorns that have sprouted have been transferred to pots for gifting, next week (Arbor Day) we will be planting with friends. Hope to see you out there too with your plans to plant!

Image 2 Image 13 Image 19

Acorn Inspiration in Greece!

IMG_5966

Ancient Oaks on the Island of Kea

In October of 2015 Daniela and I went to the Greek Island of Kea to learn more about acorn processing and to help bring in the Autumn harvest at  Red Tractor Farm (big thank you to Marcie Mayer, the queen of all things acorn, for her big heart and her wealth of knowledge).

Our home base was in Korissia but we drove all over the island visiting ancient Oak Trees, took a half day and walked around the no-car town of Ioulida and even took a dip in Spathi bay. A rare treat for us New Englanders in late October.
We fell in love the with the scent in the air (a heady mixture of sea salt and thyme/lavender), a few local cats, the honey bees, morning roosters and wild olives.
What’s not to love?
Lemon trees, bougainvillea, wild oxalis, delicious food (blowing a big kiss right back at you Katerina) and the wonderful company. The self reliant and friendly folks who live on the island are just an extension of all that is right about Kea. I miss it and hope to get back there someday!
Links to visit:
iloveacorns.com (buy Acorn cookies and other good things here!)
redtractorfarm.com (visit the red tractor farm guest houses!)

Music:
Zorba’s Dance by Starlite Orchestra
Syrtaki Dance by Jean-Luc Barreau
Hummingbird by George Winston

Now we have a serious case of acorn envy, did you see the size of those nuts?

We’ll be back one day Marcie!

xoxo

Deb and Daniela