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July 11, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Door County cherries make local pit stop after hairpin turn

I don’t have to do much to get my husband all misty-eyed. Say “Door County” and away he goes, waxing nostalgic about boyhood summers spent on Baileys Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin. There, far from the urban center that was his Chicago home, he fished Lake Michigan with his favorite aunts, picked the county’s famous sour Montmorency cherries and slept, sunburned and freckle-faced, on a cot in a screened-in porch.

Which is why, 16 years ago, he insisted we plant a pair of dwarf cherry trees in our backyard: edible nostalgia.

As I explained to my radio partner Dick Stein this week on Food for Thought (listen in here), this year I bore the brunt of the picking and pitting, though Mac took to the task for the last of them and — necessity being the mother of invention — shared with me for the first time his mother’s secret for pitting cherries: use a hairpin!

Who needs a fancy cherry pitter?

Who needs a fancy cherry pitter when a hairpin will do? No hairpin? A sturdy paper clip works, too.  (Photo by Nancy Leson)

When he asked if I had a bobby pin, I was skeptical, but when I rustled up the only hairpin I had, he showed me how it’s done. “No way!” I said, pulling out my iPhone camera so he could show you:

Now that the tree’s stripped of its fruit, the fruit’s bagged and frozen and we’re prepared to make plenty of homemade cherry pies and sour cherry preserves, it’s time for a nice cold drink, don’t you think? And I’ve got just the one to make my man all misty-eyed. Again.

Mac's pick for martini making: Death's Door gin, distilled from local product grown just across from the Door County Peninsula. The garnish -- local product grown in our backyard in the other Washington -- was my idea. (Photo by Nancy Leson / The Seattle Times)

Mac’s pick for martini making: Death’s Door gin, distilled from local product grown just across from the Door County Peninsula. I found this bottle at the new Total Wine store in Lynnwood. The garnish — local product grown in our backyard — was my idea. (Photo by Nancy Leson)

0 Comments | Topics: cherries, Death's Door, Door County

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