As you may very well know, Door County is covered with cherry orchards. With 2,500 acres of tart cherries and 50 acres of sweet cherries, Door County is the 4th largest cherry producing region in the nation. If all the orchards were together, there would be about 4 square miles of cherry trees.
There are countless orchards and markets in Door County. Between all of them, they harvest anywhere from 8 – 12 MILLION pounds of cherries per year. With that, you can find just about anything cherry. Dried cherries, cherry filling, coffee, tea, jam, jelly, butter, salsa, sauce, dressing, chocolate, wine, gifts, decor, and more! You can even do a cherry pit spitting contest or a Segway tour trough an orchard.
It all began in 1896. A man by the name of Al Hatch planted cherry trees just north of Sturgeon Bay. Just 13 years later, in 1909, those cherry trees began to get nation recognition. Within the next few years, the crop covered 3,200 acres. It took about 230 railroad cars to haul all the cherries. The crop eventually grew to 10,000 acres, but maintaining a workforce large enough became nearly impossible.
Limb shakers started to become available. Then, the limber shakers had to shake each branch individually. Shakers now harvest 60 – 100 trees per hour by grabbing the truck and shaking the whole tree at once.
Cherry orchards depend on warmer days and cooler nights in March and April to have a good crop. Cherry trees typically blossom in mid-May. Picking begins in Mid-July through early August. Some orchards harvest their whole crop themselves, while other do Pick Your Own. Watch for the “PYO Cherries” signs at the road!
The most recent Cherry update expects cherries to be ready mid to late July. The weather in the coming weeks could change that. For the best cherry update, it is best to call the orchard to play to visit directly. They are the experts and will be able to give a more accurate time frame of when picking will begin.
Be sure to call us right away if you’d like a room. We already have limited availability on weekends during the cherry picking season.