New England Acorn Cooperative

A Gathering Place for the Acorn Community

Month: November 2017

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!