In Door County restaurants, it’s common to find local ingredients like fresh produce, meats, and cheeses on the menu and on plates.
From just-caught fish and locally produced wine at a fine-dining restaurant down to the freshest little cheese curd in an out-of-the-way roadside bar, fresh and local food can be found all over.
But eating local in Door County isn’t just a food fad.
Lake-to-table, orchard-to-table, and field-to-table styles of eating have long been ways of life up here. Buying tonight’s salad vegetables or tomorrow morning’s eggs from a neighbor is nothing new, and, until recently, wasn’t something local chefs and restaurateurs necessarily thought of as remarkable or worth announcing to visitors.
Now that more and more diners are looking for ways to experience and respect the local culture in meaningful ways, Door County’s food scene has been embracing its hyperlocal and hyper-fresh roots, both in the restaurant world and Door County food landscape at large.
Here are a few ways you can have an authentic Door County food experience and help support local growers and producers at the same time.
- Shop at a Farmers Market: One of the easiest ways to directly support local growers is to shop at one of six summer/fall farmers markets.
Each one is different and has its own rotation of farmers and producers who sell their wares each week, such as fruits, vegetables, spreads and jams, specialty foods, cheese, meats, breads, baked goods, condiments, coffee, and beverages as well as handmade art and crafts, live music, and great company.
- Stop at an Orchard or Farm Market: In addition to farmers markets, the county has dozens of scenic roadside markets and shops (PDF) brimming with artisan food goods, such as fresh fruits and veggies, meat and dairy products, specialty canned and jarred items, candy and confections, crafts and home decor, and much more.
Waseda Farms in Baileys Harbor is a local favorite that sells certified-organic beef, pork, poultry, and produce year-round.
- Eat Your Veggies (and Fruits and Grains): Farm-fresh produce plays a huge part in restaurants and the food system, thanks to so many farms and food producers in the area. Seek out vegetarian and produce-forward dishes when possible and embrace dishes with local fruits and vegetables.
- Shop Local—Even for the Small Stuff: Whether it’s a quick sandwich to-go, s’mores ingredients, or a multi-course meal, buying any food items you need in Door County itself can be a great way to support local businesses and get a feel for the kinds of foods and produce that are regularly available in this area.
- Drink at a Local Brewery, Winery, Cidery, or Distillery: Locally crafted fruit wines have long been a staple of Door County, and now makers of beer, cider, and spirits have joined the scene.
Support our local artisans by touring their facilities, drinking and dining in their tasting rooms, and drinking local when you head to restaurants and bars. Here are just a few of our favorite local beverage makers.
- Dine at a Local Restaurant: Most restaurants, markets, bars, taverns, and other food stops you’ll see will be locally owned, operated, and cared for. When you dine at a local restaurant, you’re directly supporting not only the restaurant owners but the farmers and food suppliers who helped get that meal on the table.
If you’re looking for your new favorite restaurant in Door County, the dining finder is a great place to start.
Sustainable dining can mean a lot of things, but when you’re researching restaurants and food stops, look for those that mention:
- Using fresh, local ingredients
- Using in-season produce and ingredients
- Growing their own vegetables and herbs
- Sourcing high-quality and ethically produced meat and animal products
- Focusing on nutritious and produce-forward dishes and embracing vegetarian and vegan options
- Eliminating unnecessary waste products like plastic straws, styrofoam to-go containers, plastic cutlery, napkins, plastic coffee cup tops, and more
- Working with local farmers, growers, and suppliers who use sustainable farming practices
Community Sustainability Efforts
Looking for more ways to support the county’s sustainability initiatives? Check out how these local communities are leading the charge toward a greener and more sustainable Door County.
- Baileys Harbor Sustainability Initiatives
- Egg Harbor Sustainability Initiatives
- Liberty Grove Sustainability Initiatives
- Sturgeon Bay Sustainability Initiatives
- Jacksonport Sustainability Initiatives
Video: The Food Scene in Door County is on Fire
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