Cherry Delight in Door County, Wisconsin

Barbara Noe Kennedy

 

Come midsummer, Door County’s cherry trees burgeon with abundant fruit, heralding the arrival of everything cherry. In this idyllic, sweet-scented realm framed by the shimmery blue waters of Lake Michigan on one side, Green Bay on the other, chefs, bakers, vintners, mixologists, brewers, and other culinary artisans get to work, concocting some of the planet’s most exquisite examples of summer yumminess. Meantime, market stands are set up, crafters purvey cherry-themed goodies, and everywhere you go: cherries.

 

The tradition began in the late 1800s, when farmers discovered that the region’s cool breezes prevented early frost and promised proper pollination in spring, while the limestone-deposited soil was ideal for cherry-growing. By the mid-1900s, Door County was the nation’s largest producer of tart cherries. Today, it ranks as Number 4, though that makes absolutely no difference to the crowds that pilgrimage to this idyllic cherry-blessed land. They know what awaits.

 

White Gull Inn’s cherry-stuffed French toast are legendary. But there are also cherry bombs, cherry margaritas, cherry vinaigrette, cherry BBQ sauce, cherry chocolate, cherry ice cream … you get the idea. You’ll also find cherry-inspired artwork, towels, mugs. Oh yes, you can pick cherries too, collecting buckets of the pure essence of summer. 

 

Of course, there’s more to Door County than cherries: cute cabins, fish boils, 300 miles of shoreline, kayaking, repertory theater, art galleries, lighthouses, live music, hiking, scenic drives, culinary classes, and on and on.

 

But when there are cherries, why go any other time?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo Captions:

1        (Top photo). Cherry-stuffed French toast at the White Gull Inn in the village of Fish Creek—two slices of egg bread, filled with Wisconsin cream cheese and Door County cherries, swizzled with real maple syrup.

 

2.      Cherry chocolates at White Cottage Red Door, an artisan shop near Fish Creek that purveys an amazingly delicious collection of cherry-themed items.

 

3.      Buckets of cherries everywhere.

 

4.      A handcrafted Moonshine Margarita at Door County Distillery in Sturgeon Bay, featuring cherry moonshine.

 

5.      Even salad dressings are made with fresh cherries. This cherry vinaigrette tops a fresh green salad at Top Deck Restaurant and Bar at Gordon Lodge, beloved for their summery cherry-themed specials.

 

6.      Cherry ice cream at Door County Ice Cream Factory in North Sister Bay, with owner Todd Frisoni.

 

7.      Cherry cider at Island Orchard Cider is crafted in the French style—and pairs perfectly with almost anything.

 

8.      A seasonal cherry Margarita at Fred and Fuzzy’s Waterfront Grill, Sister Bay—also fabled for its sunsets.

 

9.      More cherry goodies at White Cottage Red Door.

 

Author Bio:

Barbara Noe Kennedy worked as an editor at the National Geographic Book Division for more than 20 years. She has written four books, and her writings have also been published in National Geographic, The Daily Telegraph, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.

 

For Highbrow Magazine

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Barbara Noe Kennedy; Cover Photo: Cherry Growers of Wisconsin
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