Celebrating Acorns: Anastasia Pantera, an AGFORWARD researcher, attended the valonia oak and acorn festival in the village of Korissia on the Greek island of Kea (Tzia) on 25 October 2014. She was invited by Marcie Mayer from the “Hamada Acorn Initiative”.
The disperse valonia oak stands on the island are used in a range of traditional agroforestry systems. One of the key products from the valonia oak (Quercus ithaburensis) trees is Χαμάδα (pronounced Hamada), which is the Kean (Tziotiko) word for the giant acorn caps. These are collected annually and sold to leather tanneries across Europe. In 2014, 35 tonnes of acorn caps were collected.
During the valonia oak and acorn festival, Anastasia had the opportunity to talk about agroforestry. In fact two participants are working with the AGFORWARD group focused on valonia oak systems. There is strong local knowledge about management practices for valonia oaks such as the collection of “Hamada”. The festival includes traditional music, the drinking of tsipouro and the consumption of acorn cookies. There were races to separate the acorns from the cups, and opportunities to create colourful acorn cup ornaments. There was even a treasure hunt where everyone searched for a “golden” acorn. Young and old had the opportunity to enjoy, sing and dance many traditional songs throughout the event.
Maybe the biggest event of the day was the “Largest acorn contest”. Unfortunately Anastasia’s entry did not win, but she was happy that valonia oak was being used for much more than just firewood!
The search for the heaviest acorn