Lautenbach’s Orchard Country is where you come to spit cherry seeds and pick a pail of cherries to take home. You can also participate in a wine tasting or check out the market for some of the cherry specialty items. It’s a full Door County experience all in one place.
It Starts With A Contest, Of Sorts
Start with the seeds. There really is a place to measure your distance, compete with friends, and see how far you can send a seed. Because, why not.
Then, move on to the orchards. For some 85 years cherries have been driving the economy in Door County, WI, and this 100-acre farm, which started as a dairy farm, is part of the story. While in Door County we heard various versions, but the storyteller at Orchard Country told it this way:
The Perfect Climate For Cherries
An agriculturist did a study of the land and climate here. We’re sometimes called ‘the thumb’ because we’re a peninsula, with water on either side—Green Bay on one, and Lake Michigan on the other. That helps keep the temperature here in a range that works for growing cherries. Last year our hottest temperature of 93 degrees; it gets below 0 degrees but not for long.
All of that creates the ideal climate to grow cherries. They also thrive because of our limestone soil. It’s chunky, layered, with deep crevices. It has two huge nutrients, alkaline and calcium, in the soil. It also helps to have ample snow to insulate the trees throughout the winter, with blossoms coming in May.
Let Me Count The Ways
The orchard has now diversified to grow about 60 acres of Montmorency tart cherries, which is turned into juice, jam, jellies, pies, wine, and more, plus 20 acres of Ballantine cherries, a darker, meatier cherry. They also grow pears, four varieties of apples, raspberries, and grapes.
This is a working orchard that has created an experience along the way—from playing games to picking your own, from tasting and trying, to buying to take it home.
Now, how far can you spit a cherry seed?
This is part of The Food Channel‘s coverage of Door County, Wisconsin, from a recent tour hosted by the Door County Visitor’s Bureau. Find other stories in the series here.
Travel accommodations and tour arrangements in Door County were provided by the Door County Visitors Bureau in conjunction with Geiger & Associates Public Relations.
Photos by Paul K. Logsdon.