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In 1969 National Geographic magazine turned its lens on Door County, exploring the local flavors in an article titled “Kingdom So Delicious,”changing Door County tourism forever and putting Door County on the national map as a vacation destination. A new audience was intreagued by the orchards, fisheries, and traditions that make it such a beloved getaway. Forty-seven years later the county’s artisans, growers, and chefs have made it a foodie’s paradise like never before.
Fish boils, cherry pies, and bags full of apples remain staples of the peninsula’s fall food scene, but there are numerous establishments for you to discover exciting culinary creations. Whether you’re in the mood for cocktails written up in the New York Times or breweries and cheese shops garnering the focus of public television’s Wisconsin Foodie, you don’t need to search hard for proof that Door County’s culinary arts are ripe for exploration.
A Grassroots Beginning
Fifteen years ago the County’s burgeoning sustainability movement turned its attention to food. Seasonal farmer’s markets have sprouted up in Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay, Fish Creek, and Jacksonport. Later Baileys Harbor followed suit. The markets gave growers a place to showcase their work, and residents a place to buy directly from their neighbors.
These small growers worked with the local UW - Extension office to create a Door County Local Producers Guide, giving residents and visitors a treasure map to finding any type of ingredient that could be grown or raised right here.
As the markets grew they drew the attention of local chefs who began crafting menus around the growing season of local farmers. It also created a culture that attracted a new wave of restaurateurs eager to showcase the authentic flavors of Door County, while redirecting attention back to those who had been doing so for decades.
Door County’s New Culinary Traditions
This fall, plan a visit to experience the County in full flavor. From early September to late October, the landscape comes alive with the bounty of the harvest and our doors are open wide for you to experience it all with exciting vacation packages during So Delicious, So Door County.
Check out an array of culinary tours and tastings, food and beverage festivals, cooking classes, or just pull to the side of the road at season markets full of pumpkins, apples, and cider. Better yet, put your own skills to work with the help of our new Savor Door County Video Series, showcasing fresh, local ingredients with recipes from local foodies and chefs.
You’ll find an exciting, rapidly evolving scene of restaurants combining historical food traditions with the latest culinary trends and styles in settings you’ll be clamoring to share with your friends.
For a list of restaurants, markets, and shops showcasing the local harvest, download our guide.
View the full September 2016 Newsletter here.