Door County Cherry Picking

Cherry picking – It’s what put Door County on the map. Believe it or not, cherry-picking is a big part of what made Door County a popular tourist destination. Even with all this place has to offer, Door County cherry picking remains extremely popular to this day. This post will tell you everything you need to know about picking cherries in Door County.

Here is what this post will cover:

Picking cherries isn’t the only way to be blessed by these amazing trees. Every year, people flock to Door County to see the cherry blossoms. Check out our article on the cherry blossoms of Door County to learn about how you can take in this beautiful sight!

If you are planning a trip to Door County to pick cherries, check out our post on Door County’s best hotels. This post will help you find the perfect lodging for your Door County vacation.

collage of a cherry orchard, upclose shot of cherries, and buckets of cherries in the back of a pickup truck. Overlayed text says: "Door County Cherry Picking."
Via Hello Door County.

Why pick cherries in Door County?

Picture of a woman in a cherry print dress picking cherries in a cherry orchard. She has a basket of cherries in her hand. The picture has a vintage Americana vibe.

Picking cherries might sound like an odd vacation activity to you. Doing your own work on vacation? How much sense does that make?

But, every year thousands upon thousands of people pick cherries in Door County. This has been happening every year for over a hundred years! Surely, there must be something people get out of it.

Here are some reasons why many people find picking cherries enjoyable:

Outdoor Activity

Woman picking cherries in a Door County orchard
Via Depositphotos. Used by permission.

Picking cherries is a reason to get outdoors and experience the natural world. If you live in an urban area, this might especially be a nice diversion. The sun, the fresh air, and exposure to the trees themselves are a nice change from fluorescent lights, laptops, and HVAC.

Cherry Picking is Family-Friendly

You won’t see people frowning at your kids in a cherry orchard. Instead, you’ll see smiles from those glad to see you there. Not only this, but it’s also an activity that multiple generations can participate in. It’s a good way for grandparents to bond with grandchildren.

Quality Food and Food Awareness

A ripe sweet cherries in a ceramic bowl on a rustic background
Via Depositphotos. Used by permission.

These days, people care a lot more about the quality of their food. And, they want to know where their food comes from. Pouring cherry filling out from a can just doesn’t cut it for many people these days.

Picking cherries will let you get the highest quality fruit available. The varieties you will pick are bred to taste good, not just to stand up well to shipping and storage.

And, you can be in control of the cherries you take home. Machine-harvested cherries will often be unripe and of poor quality. Cherries you pick with your hands will be the best cherries on the tree.

Tradition – Vintage Americana Vibe

Image of a woman on a ladder in a cherry print dress, holding a basket of cherries, smiling as she picks a cherry in a cherry orchard. The image has a vintage Americana vibe.

Tradition is as good of a reason as any to do something. Families have been coming to pick cherries in Door County for generations. Those kinds of customs have meaning and importance to many people. That’s a good reason to pick cherries.

Maybe your family doesn’t have a cherry-picking tradition. You can be the first in the line of your family tree who makes it a habit to partake is this cool, vintage Americana activity.

Health Benefits

Picking cherries can benefit your health twice.

First, moving around in the air and under the sun is good for health. You’ll feel better just by going to the orchard.

Second, the tart cherries popular in Door County are extremely good for health. They have anti-inflammatory characteristics that can bring relief to people with many different kinds of ailments.

When to Pick Cherries in Door County in 2024

Man thinking about how long it will be until it is cherry picking season.

Cherries are ready to be picked usually in mid-July through mid-August. The cherry picking season can vary based on weather, location on the peninsula, and cherry variety.

Because the cherry-picking season can vary a little bit, check ahead to make sure that they are ready. Most cherry orchards will update their websites and Facebook profiles to let you know when they expect the cherries to be in season.

Many cherry orchards also mail out postcards to let their patrons know when they can come to pick. If you call them and ask to be put on their mailing list, they will be glad to add you.

Are Cherries Ready to Be Picked in 2024?

Yes, as of July 2, 2024, cherries are ready to be picked in Door County.

Some orchards are predicting that sweet cherries will be ready in the first week of July.

Door County Cherry Season

buckets of cherries in the back of a pickup truck
Via Hello Door County.

The season to pick cherries in Door County is summer, from mid-July through early-August. This is when most Door County cherries are ripe.

What Kind of Cherries to Pick in Door County

The two broad categories of cherries to pick in Door County are tart and sweet. Sweet cherries are the cherries most people like to pop right into their mouths. Some people also like to eat tart cherries this way, but tart cherries are the most popular cherries for making pies and other baked goods. Most cherry orchards will have signs pointing you to the different cherry varieties.

Montmorency Cherries

two red montmorency cherries
Credit: Martha Dol via Flicker. Used by permission (CC BY 2.0).

The most famous cherry variety in Door County is a tart variety called the Montmorency cherry. The first Montmorency cherry orchard was planted in Door County in 1858. It has been popular to grow here ever since.

The Montmorency cherry not only tolerates but actually even thrives in cold climates. This made it a great variety to grown in Door County. At one time, Door County produced 95% of the American tart cherry crop!

It has bright red fruit with yellow flesh. The juice runs clear, and they have a rich, tart flavor. Bakers and jam makers love these cherries.

Montmorency cherries get their name from Montmorency, a community in France. This was once a rural fiefdom, but now it is a wealthy suburb of Paris.

Why Are There Cherry Trees in Door County?

After European settlers cleared the land, they began experimenting with agricultural crops. This was more difficult in Door County than in other areas of the country. The harsh climate and difficult soils meant that many crops failed.

Finally, one farmer tried cherries. He found success!

It turns out that Door County was an ideal place to grow cherry trees. Cherries like alkaline, well-drained soils. This meant that Door County’s hillsides were a perfect place to grow them.

Also, cherries like it cold, but not too cold. Being far north gives the cherry trees the cold they need, but the moderating effect of Lake Michigan’s waters helps to keep hard frosts at bay in the Fall.

Where to Pick Cherries in Door County

Okay, you’re convinced. You want to join the tradition and pick cherries in Door County. Where can you do this? Here are some of Door County’s most popular cherry orchards:

Door County Cherry Orchard Map

Northern Door County Cherry Orchards

Choice Orchards

Website: https://www.choiceorchard.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/choiceorchards/

Phone: (920) 743-8980

Address: 4594 County Rd HH, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Barnard Farms

Website: https://www.pickyourowndoorcountycherries.com/
Address: 5807 WI-42, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Lautenbach’s Orchard

Website: https://www.orchardcountry.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/orchardcountry/

Phone: (920) 868-3479

Address: 9197 WI-42, Fish Creek, WI 54212

Hyline Orchard

Website: https://www.hylineorchards.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Hyline-Orchard-Farm-Market-Inc/100063631237249/

Phone: (920) 868-3067

Address: 8240 WI-42, Fish Creek, WI 54212

Schartner’s Farm Market

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/schartnersfarmmarket/

Phone: (920) 743-8617

Address: 6476 WI-42, Egg Harbor, WI 54209

Seaquist Orchards

Website: https://seaquistorchards.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeaquistOrchardsFarmMarket/

Phone: (920) 854-4199

Address: 11482 WI-42, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Southern Door County Cherry Orchards

Soren’s Valhalla Orchards

Soren’s Valhalla is Hello Door County’s recommended orchard for cherry picking.

Website: https://sorensvalhallaorchards.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sorensvalhallaorchardsllc/
Phone: (920) 746-1102
Address: 2412 Idlewild Rd, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Cherry Lane Orchards

Website: http://www.cherrylaneorchards.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/local/Cherry-Lane-Orchards-283153965059749/

Phone: (920) 856-6864

Address: 7525 Cherry Ln, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Kielar Akers Orchard

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kielarakers/

Phone: (920) 856-6978

Address: 648 WI-42, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Meleddy Cherry Orchard

Website: https://www.meleddycherryfarm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meleddycherryorchard/

Phone: (414) 379-6508

Address: 1038 Mill Rd, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Paradise Farms Orchard

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ParadiseFarmsOrchardDoorCounty/

Phone: (920) 825-7274

Address: 2565 County C, Brussels, WI 54204

Robertson Orchards

Website: https://robertson-orchards.business.site/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobertsonOrchards/

Phone: (920) 743-1351

Address: 2575 S Shiloh Rd, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Door County Cherry Festival

Every year the village of Jacksonport puts on its annual Cherry Fest. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the cherry picking tradition in Door County.

What does cherry-picking mean?

The term “cherry-picking” can have multiple meanings. Here are some of them:

  • Picking cherries off of cherry trees.
  • Picking the most favorable items from a larger group or collection of items.

The second meaning is a colloquialism derived from the first meaning. It is often used in a derogatory way to describe the actions of those who seek the best things for themselves, leaving worse items for others. For example, if someone is taking all the candy pieces from a bag of GORP, his companions might say, “No cherry-picking!”

What Is a Cherry Picker?

The term “cherry picker” can refer to:

  • A person who picks cherries.
  • A machine used to pick cherries.
  • A person who selfishly takes the most favorable items for himself (Colloquial.)

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to go cherry picking in Door County?

The best time to go cherry picking in Door County is typically from mid-July to early August, when the cherries are ripe and ready to be picked.

Where are the best cherry orchards to go cherry picking in Door County?

There are several cherry orchards in Door County that offer cherry picking, including Lautenbach’s Orchard Country, Seaquist Orchards, and Sorens Valhalla Orchards. Each orchard has its own unique experience and offerings, so it’s best to do some research and decide which one suits your needs best.

What should I wear when going cherry picking in Door County?

When going cherry picking in Door County, it’s recommended to wear comfortable clothes and shoes that can get dirty, as well as a hat and sunscreen for protection from the sun.

Where can you pick your own cherries in Door County?

Popular pick-your-own cherry orchards in Door County include Sorens Valhalla Orchards, Seaquist Orchards, and Hyline Orchards. However, most Door County orchards let you pick your own.

Does Door County grown cranberries?

No, cranberries are not grown in Door County. The fruit grown in Door County includes cherries, apples, strawberries, raspberries, and plums.

Cherry Picking in Wisconsin

Cherry picking in Wisconsin is a delightful and quintessential summer activity, deeply rooted in the state’s agricultural heritage. Wisconsin, particularly Door County, is renowned for its abundant cherry orchards, drawing visitors from near and far. The experience is more than just harvesting; it’s about enjoying the scenic beauty of lush, green orchards under the warm summer sun.

Families and friends partake in this seasonal tradition, often making it an annual excursion. The cherries themselves, sweet and tart, are perfect for pies, jams, or eating fresh. This tradition also supports local farmers, fostering a connection between the land and the community, and highlighting the importance of sustainable, local agriculture.

What State Is Known for Cherries?

Wisconsin, Michigan, and Oregon are known for their cherries.

Wisconsin, especially Door County, has a rich cherry-picking tradition, attracting visitors with its picturesque orchards. These states, with their conducive climates and rich soils, play a vital role in the country’s cherry industry, offering a bounty of these beloved fruits.

Michigan, particularly the Traverse City area, known as the “Cherry Capital of the World,” is also well-known for cherry-picking. Washington state follows, renowned for its sweet Rainier cherries. Oregon’s Willamette Valley is another notable region, offering a diverse range of cherry types.

Types of Cherry Trees in Wisconsin

Wisconsin, particularly Door County, is home to various cherry trees, with the Montmorency cherry being the most prominent. This tart cherry is ideal for baking and is a staple in the region’s famed cherry pies. Sweet cherry varieties like the Bing and Rainier are also grown, though less common.

The cultivation of cherry trees in Wisconsin dates back to the late 19th century. It began with the realization that the state’s climate and limestone-rich soil were perfect for cherry growth.

The industry rapidly expanded, especially during the early 20th century, transforming Wisconsin into a significant cherry-producing region. Today, these cherry orchards are not just productive agricultural assets but also cultural and tourist attractions, celebrating the state’s agricultural history and community spirit.

Conclusion – Picking Cherries in Door County in 2024

Picking cherries in Door County is a favorite thing to do of both tourists and locals alike. It’s a great way to get closer to your food and closer to your family.

About the author
Mark Stoneman
Hi! My name is Mark! I have been a resident of Door County for almost ten years now, and I'm glad to help you say "Hello" to Door County. I believe that travel helps to change lives, and because of that, I want to help you improve your life through travel.

2 thoughts on “Door County Cherry Picking”

  1. Hi, I’m wondering if any product containing any amount of Door County cherries can be sold and labeled as such.
    I’m asking on behalf of Grebe’s Bakery in West Allis, WI.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi, Jessica,

      That’s an interesting question, and one that touches on all kinds of topics, including moral issues and legal issues.

      I’m not aware of any kind of branding or trademark associated with “Door County cherries.”

      But, I’m not a lawyer and can’t really offer any legal advice. You might want to consult with your attorney on the question.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help.

      Reply

Leave a Comment