This Wisconsin County Once Produced 95% Of All Tart Cherries In The US

As the adage goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Such was the case for one Wisconsin county that once produced 95% of all of the tart cherries in the U.S. after a rocky and slow start.

Part of its struggles was with having the right conditions for growing cherries. To grow successfully, cherry trees need at least six hours of sunlight daily and should be planted in deep and well-draining soil, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. Patience is also needed. Cherry trees don't usually start to bear fruit until they are about four years old, per the Old Farmer's Almanac, and when they are mature, they can produce 30 to 50 quarts of the fruit each year.

There are two types of cherries: sweet and sour (or tart). Sweet cherries are primarily grown in California, Washington and Oregon, while Michigan and Wisconsin are best suited for growing tart cherries, cites Taste of Home. It's sweet cherries that are usually enjoyed raw, while tart cherries are most often used in baking, per Taste of Home.

Cherryland, USA

If you are a cherry lover, Door County, Wisconsin is a destination to add to your bucket list. The left thumb of Wisconsin, Door County is surrounded by Lake Michigan on three sides and is known for its wineries and cherry growers (via Taste of Home).

During the 1950s, Door County produced 95% of the tart cherries raised in the US with 1 million cherry trees (via Taste of Home). Nowadays, there are still about 2,500 acres of land dedicated to cherry trees in the county, which has been nicknamed Cherryland, USA, per Taste of Home. Cherries weren't a natural fit for the land, which is shallow and rocky, according to Destination Door County.

Farmers struggled to make something of the land until tart Montmorency cherries were planted in 1896 and flourished, according to Destination Door County. The land could still be unruly and farmers had to use dynamite to break up bedrock for their orchards, but the trees still to produced fruit, according Destination Door County. In 1918, The Fruit Growers Canning Company was created, which gave cherries another way to be sold versus just selling them fresh to consumers (via Wisconsin Cherry Growers). Today, visitors and locals flock to Door County to pick cherries, which generally are ripe in mid-July, according to Green Bay Press Gazette

If you are hungry for cherries, but can't venture to Door County, you can always order cherry products from Wisconsin and bake a taste of Door County in your home.