The Island ~ Commitment to the Community
We started baking on Little Cranberry Island years ago. At first, it was just something to do on foggy days; then it became something we looked forward to, and planned for. We thought the mussel shapes would add a little elegance to our Whoopie pie recipe, and the clam is humble, but delicious, just like the island Buttermilk cake that has it's shape. Of course we had to make something in a lobster shape. We had just read Trevor Corson's book, The Secret Life of Lobsters, and lobster is so much of what makes a Maine island. We've never outgrown the habit of collecting shells and seaglass, and for us it's a natural process to combine our recipes with the magical forms we find at the shore.
For those who would like more information about the Maine island that inspired us to start our little company, Little Cranberry Island is one of five islands that comprise the Cranberry Isles and is located approximately 3 miles off shore from Northeast Harbor, a town that is part of Mount Desert Island (better known for the town of Bar Harbor and as the home of Acadia National Park). Perhaps the first thing to know about this island is that most everyone who lives there or has visited more than once refers to the island as “Islesford”, not Little Cranberry Island. Islesford is the official name of the “town of Islesford” located on Little Cranberry Island. However there really is NO “town” at all on Islesford, unless you count the little Islesford Market and the adjacent Town office building as a “town.”
To reach Islesford (or neighboring Great Cranberry Island) you can take Beal and Bunker’s mailboat, which runs as many as six times in the summer but only three times a day in the winter. The island has a winter population of about 70 people and a summer population of about 300 to 400 people.
Islesford is comprised of lobstermen and their families, tradesmen, craftsmen, boatbuilders, and numerous rusticators, whose numbers increase dramatically in the summer.
For visitors, Islesford represents a dramatic break from the hectic pace of mainland life; islanders may live life at a different pace, but still work as hard, if not harder, than many of the rest of us. In addition to gorgeous views and beaches, Islesford has a fabulous and fun restaurant, The Islesford Dock (open in the summer), two wonderful art galleries, Jane Moran Porter's Island Sea Glass Gallery, Marion Baker’s pottery shop, and the aptly named Winter’s Work store, which features crafts, gifts, books, and art made by islanders.
But the reason we go to Islesford is for it’s “simple pleasures”, which really can be experienced anywhere, but so often aren’t; a cup of tea and a walk with a friend, watching the sun rise and set (and often running to take a picture, even if it’s the 1000th one you’ve taken), eating “Island Gingerbread”, taking the time to marvel at the bounty and beauty of your neighbor’s garden, or a bird eating outside your window, being able to walk or bike everywhere (the island is only about 1 1/2 miles long by 2/3 mile wide), watching the kids fish and swim off the town dock, reading and dozing and reading and dozing, taking an hour to walk a quarter of a mile because you stop and take the opportunity to catch up with everyone you meet along the way, watching a group of kids put on an impromptu play for their neighbors on a summer night, taking a brisk winter walk and then cozily baking a cake while watching the late afternoon shadows outside the window, eating family dinners, finding and collecting shells and rocks from the shore or the woods, collecting mussels for dinner from the beach... These and innumerable others are the simple pleasures of island life that inspired us to create the “simple pleasures” of our island desserts and Cranberry Island Kitchen. So we really mean it when we say that we hope our treats will inspire you to create and savor your own “simple pleasures” in life, wherever you are.
The Island ~ Commitment to the Community