Parent Corner: Simple and Sweet

From cherry picking to cherry pie

Picking cherries with your littles is a fun, quintessential Door County activity. My toddler loved wandering the rows with her mini bucket in hand, choosing the perfect tree from which to pluck. She filled that pail slowly and deliberately, until her fingers and arms ached, and she said, “You can do the rest.” Depending on the child, your cherry-picking venture could last 10 minutes to one hour. 

But the good times don’t have to stop there because the orchards amp up the fun with playgrounds suitable for multiple ages and trikes for riding and racing. Greta got in some swinging and sliding before we headed inside for shopping, samples and a jar of cherry salsa. 

Greta whips up pie filling. Photo by Sally Collins.

She proudly rested that pail of cherries in her lap for the drive home, pulled them out of the refrigerator to show her great-grandpa, and put on her little apron when the time came to bake a pie. 

Without a proper cherry pitter, we used the chopstick method, which is another great activity for little ones. (Hi there, fine-motor skills.) She poured, she stirred, she helped seal the dough and slice the vents. Not the lattice pie of your Door County dreams – and Greta opted for an ice-cream sandwich – but it was still tasty, with some sweet (and tart) memories baked in. 

Greta’s Door County Cherry Pie
Preheat the oven to 400° F.

• 1⅓ cups sugar
• ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
• 4 cups tart cherries, pitted 
• ¼ tsp vanilla extract
• Pastry for a 9-inch, double-crust pie
• 2 Tbsp butter, cut in small pieces

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cherries and vanilla extract. Pour the filling over the bottom crust in a 9-inch pie plate. Dot with the butter. Add the top crust. Seal the edges, cut vents in the upper crust, and cover the edges loosely with foil (or not! We forgot, and it added character, if you ask me). Bake for 40-50 minutes. Enjoy!