I don’t know the exact numbers, but it seems that just about every one of the 2,400 year-round residents in this area works for themselves. Deer Isle is a mere 29 square miles, and one does not have to travel far to find an entrepreneur. Whether making pottery, paintings, baskets, or jewelry, area inhabitants certainly have an artistic flare. There are 52 artists listed in the Deer Isle Artists Association’s website alone! (http://www.deerisleartists.com)
Island business is carried out in many instances on the honor system. Those of us who have been city dwellers may marvel at the concept – choose your purchase and leave the money in the jar (or tin, or cigar box). While I have posted an image of the Tinder Hearth bread at 44 North Coffee on facebook, here it is again:
At $6.50/loaf, the bread is pricey, but tastes amazing. Delivered fresh twice a week, it is addictive (Raisin Spelt is a particular favorite). Of course, one must not include those croissants in their weekly bread run. The bread is made in Brooksville, a short drive away. More on that later.
44 North Coffee, my getaway haunt, also has their own self pay station. While their roasting and pour-over operation is located on the second floor of the old high school (the principal’s office, to be exact), they offer a quick-fill as well. For those customers that just want to run in and grab a pump-pot fill, and a biscotti or two, they offer a table just inside the door, at the base of the stairs. Note the cigar box for payment:
But Deer Isle Clams really takes the honor system to another level. Located on the road to Sunshine, they have set up a refrigerator which is stocked daily, with what I am told are the best steamers for miles around. Take a look at this setup:
There are also strawberry stands, blueberries, farm stands, eggs, even pottery shops that aren’t manned, just leave a note and payment…everyone sharing the bounty of hard work and creative spirit.
It’s just the island way.