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Crown Cruise Vacations | September 22, 2020

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Shore Excursion: ‘The Door’ Offers Bountiful Cherries, History and Much More

Shore Excursion: ‘The Door’ Offers Bountiful Cherries, History and Much More
Jackie Sheckler Finch

My aim was terrible. Instead of flying into the far distance, the cherry pit I was trying to spit tumbled out of my mouth and rolled down to my feet.

So much for the cherry pit-spitting contest at Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. Hard to believe but the record for the best woman cherry pit spitter is 38 feet, 3 inches. For men, it’s 48 feet, 1 inch.

But I definitely am good at eating cherries in all the delicious way they are offered in Door County. Let’s see, I had fresh cherries, dried cherries, cherry pie, cherry soda, cherry ice cream, cherry jam, cherry fudge, cherry muffins, cherry wine and the most scrumptious cherry French toast. Loved it all.

Nicknamed Cherry Land USA, Door County is among the top cherry-producing regions in the country with more than 2,000 acres of cherry orchards. You can typically expect to see the beautiful cherry blossoms adorning trees during the middle to the end of May. Depending on weather, the crop usually ripens mid-July through the end of July.

Plump with sunny goodness, fresh-picked cherries can be found throughout Door County. Roadside stands offer heaping baskets still glistening with morning dew. Orchards feature pick-your-own options where you tie a bucket around your waist and pick cherries with the stems on to make the cherries last longer.

“We’ve got almost ideal conditions to grow cherries here,” says Julia Maskell, leading a tour of Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market. Cherries flourish in the area because it is surrounded by water, with a lake on one side and the bay on the other.

Moderate weather and a good breeze help keep frost from the cherry blossoms. “And we have a limestone bed of rock where the fruit trees can get nutrients and moisture,” she says.

For a sweet taste of Door County, try this recipe shared by Lautenbach’s.

Photos and story by Jackie Sheckler Finch

                       Traditional Door County Cherry Pie


2 ½ cups unsweetened, pitted, fresh or frozen (thawed) Montmorency tart cherries

3 tablespoons tapioca

1 cup sugar


2 sticks margarine

2 cups flour

¼ cup cold water

Dash of salt

Mix cherries, sugar and tapioca in bowl. Set aside while preparing crust.

Prepare crust: Put flour and margarine in a mixing bowl. With pastry blender or spoon blend margarine and flour till creamy.  Add water, toss lightly with fork until all is moist. Form the dough into 2 equal sized firm balls. 

Sprinkle flour on surface, roll out one piece of dough to about 1/8-inch thick and place in pie pan. Pour in cherry mixture and roll out other dough ball to 1/8-inch and place on top of filling. Moisten fingers with water and going around the edge of pan pinch the edges of crusts together to seal. Lightly moisten top crust and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 min. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 40-45 min. or until golden brown. Makes 1 double crust 9-inch pie.