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Fish & Forage: Wild Mushroom, Ramps, & Lake Flavor


Spring is foraging time for the most adventurous local chefs. Farm markets won’t come alive till late spring and early summer, so some of the best local flavor comes from the forest floor.

You’ll find morels, chanterelles, and black trumpets on your hike if you have a good eye, especially after a rainfall. They will also pop up on local menus, giving plates a unique flavor for a short window every spring.

Later in spring wild ramps will sprout and blanket acres of forest floor. These sweet, but pungent small onions can be used to add a unique flavor not found from leeks or shallots. Local cheese makers infuse them into spreads, chefs add them to sauces or serve them as grilled sides, but you can simply dice them up and add them to your eggs for a couple weeks of rare spring flavor.

Whether you’re foraging for yourself, or foraging for these spring flavors on menus, your window is short. By the time the weather heats up, these flavors will be gone.

A fisherman stands proudly over his catches of the day.

While the heartiest of locals take to the lake to fish year ‘round, the waters come alive in spring. On April 19 Baileys Harbor is home to the 30th annual Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament. If you love to fish, you’ll love to be a part of the competition that offers over $7,000 in cash prizes for the top 40 fish caught in Door and Kewaunee waters over the weekend.

In May, Sturgeon Bay welcomes anglers to one of the world’s great bass fisheries. Fish the waters surrounding Sturgeon Bay for world class smallmouth bass in the 28th annual spring Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament.

Baileys Harbor celebrates the Blessing of the Fleet Saturday, May 19. This celebration of the fishing and boating industry features tours of charter and commercial fishing boats, presentations by longtime local fishermen, and fish specialties at Baileys Harbor restaurants.

Looking for creative ways to incorporate Door County’s spring flavors at your dinner table? Try these simple recipes from our Savor Door County series:

Ramp Risotto

Morel and Asparagus Pasta

Mediterranean Whitefish en Papillote

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