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When people think of Door County fruit, they often think cherries first. But the region's orchards also bring a bountiful fall harvest of apples.
You’ll find an abundance of apple-oriented activities – and eating – in the county this fall. Take a jaunt up to Washington Island for the farm museum’s cider pressing party, pick your own apples to craft a batch of applesauce or stopping at a local restaurant for a slice of warm apple pie, or meander through the roadside farm markets flush with fall’s harvest.
Apples were once more popular in the county than cherries. In 1893, local grower Joseph Zettel even submitted over 20 different varieties of apples from his orchard to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, winning medals for several.
Seaquist Orchards may claim the largest acreage of cherry orchards in the county, but the seeds of the family business go back to Swedish immigrant Anders Seaquist, who planted apple trees around the foundation of his home in Ephraim back in the 1860s. Six generations later, family members still tend 27 acres of apple trees.
Twenty years ago, Northwestern Greenings accounted for 60 percent of the Seaquist crop, and nearly all of them were turned into applesauce. Today, 60 percent of the apples the Seaquists raise are Honeycrisps, with Cortlands second in popularity. They also raise Early Golds, Ginger Goldens and Golden Supremes. Golden Delicious apples, once a standard, have fallen out of favor because they bruise easily.
In Fish Creek, the Lautenbach family has been producing quality fruit products at Orchard Country Winery and Market since 1955. The estate is home to a winery, cider mill and market. The winery resides in a restored dairy barn, producing most of its award-winning wines from fruits grown on the property.
Wood Orchard in Egg Harbor sells SweeTango apples, a hybrid of the Honeycrisp and Zestar! apples developed by the University of Minnesota. Down in southern Door County, Choice Orchards has been growing apples since 1984, and you can pick your own apples every day of the week.
You can even enjoy hard apple cider made locally from apples picked on Washington Island in the tasting room of Island Orchard Cider in Ellison Bay.
Get creative in your kitchen and try these recipes at your next dinner party.
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