Friday, January 27, 2012

A Connection to the Past

Greetings all,

I am fascinated by how this blogging has evolved for me over a two year time period.  At times it focuses on travel, mostly gardening, birds, animals, etc, but its heart is always Tucson.  And that's what I love about it.  But this Wisconsin series has also turned out to be somewhat of a historical piece for me and I guess that makes sense since I grew up there. However, I didn't know that I had a connection to the Door County region of my state.  It was on a road trip with my mom and dad that I discovered that my ancestors began the orchards of my state.  In fact while digging for the info on the bee house, my mother pulled out all the files from a dusty box and handed me the documents.  Had I grown up over a hundred years ago, I may have run an orchard full of cherry trees, apples, pears. But the bigger question is, "Is it in our blood to do these things from birth?"  Here are some fun pics taken in the Door County region north of my tiny little town of Two Rivers.....only an hour north of the city along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan.
Cheese curds....warm and squeeky cheese.  Hey, don't knock it until you try it.  It's a little piece of heaven from my homestate that will make you wish you had them in your own state:)

But our story begins with Joseph Zettel.  My parents stopped in front of the sign which read, "In 1858 Joseph Zettel, a native of Switzerland, acquired the farm directly south of this station and established the first commercial orchard on the Door Peninsula. The high yields and quality of his fruit aroused the interest of Emmett S. Goff of the University of Wisconsin and Arthur L. Hatch, orchardist, and led to the discov­ery that the Peninsula is remarkably suited for fruit growing. In 1892 Goff and Hatch planted a small acreage to cherries, apples and plums. Commercial produc­tion of red cherries began in 1896. The University of Wisconsin established this research station in 1922 to help advance the fruit industry. Progressive growers, community leaders, and thousands of pickers form distant places have shared in bringing Door County national recognition as a fruit producing area."
I'll return again this summer visiting several Cherry Orchards.  For now, I'll leave you with some shots of my mother sampling the cherry wines around this highly treasured area of Wisconsin. 
 My mother will probably kill me for posting these:) But it was fun watching her do something she enjoys which is getting some time off and spending it together with Dad and a few of us.  I had mentioned to her that I just wanted a Mom and Dad day together and that's what we did.  It turns out that it was the most relaxing day for them from the chaos of Christmas.  And I'm really glad we did it.
 If you visit Door County, the best time is in summer and especially mid July when the Cherry Orchards are open for picking.   Try the Cheese Curds, sausage, eat at some the fine establishments, drink the cherry wine(I'm not crazy about it) but I do love fresh cherries!  This last pic is my favorite.  My Mom's face carries the family look.  My Grandpa made that same look as does my Uncle and Aunt...and I will as well.  I probably do already, but I don't know since I only look at myself in the mirror while brushing my teeth.  Okay, now I'm rambling and that means it's time to go.....two more posts to go.  One more on an environmental issue that is becoming larger every year for the Great Lakes Region and another on reflection.  More tomorrow....


  1. Hahaha! I thought you resemble your Mom when I saw the first photo. :) Guess you already know that when I continue reading.

  2. Oh my..I was so thrilled to read this....having spent the past 8 years going up there and eating my way through the Door!
    especially the cherries...and now I have a new connection....
    cherries are anti-inflamatory...and the apples...cortlands..yum
    your mom looks happy you are connecting to your wonderful Wisconsin roots..good job

  3. your mom is a dear! i've never been to door county, but i've been the recipient of some of their wines. neat to know that family history!

  4. Well, now, yes I think this is proof that digging in the dirt and growing things is in your blood. I didn't know you were royalty, however. :-)

  5. Wow, you must feel great to discover your roots and that you're a part of a certain place's rich history.

  6. Great time with your parents!
    We visited Door County one fall. It was foggy the whole time we were there. We visited the light houses and hiked in the State Park but chickened out of taking the ferry to the island. The water was really choppy and with the fog it was kind of wet and cool all the time. People at the restaurants kept apologizing that they had very little fresh fish because the boats couldn't go out on the waves. Seeing it when the cherries are ready would be a treat.

  7. Thanks for mentioning Joseph Zettel on this Wisconsin Historical Marker. My father (and his) was also Joseph Zettel from Door County. He was a general contractor for most of his working life, but his 'hobby' was cherry and apple orchards. The fruit from that area takes on a special (good-special) flavor from the soils of the county. Enjoy your visits, and the many products that Door County has to offer. Remember also the areas from Sturgeon Bay and south toward Green Bay; there are many treasures in that oft-forgotten part of the county as well!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by. What a nice surprise on this very hot day in Tucson!! It's nice to hear a personal story about your father and grandfather. I think this whole history of the fruit orchards very interesting. I've grown up in Two Rivers my entire life and remember cherry picking at a young age.

      I find something new in Wisconsin everytime I go back to visit and it's like I'm rediscovering my state in a whole new light. Thanks for dropping by and hope you are well.


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