Nothing typifies the Maine vacation experience more than lobster and blueberry pie. And this year Thurston’s Lobster Pound in Bass Harbor, considered by many the best lobster pound on Mount Desert Island, switched its pie purveyor to a start-up baker, who three years ago was worrying about how to pay for new siding on her house.
That’s how Mary Musson describes why she started IslandBound Treats. “It was on a lark,” she grins. “We were trying to think of ways to earn a little extra money for the remodeling.”
Today, in addition to Thurston’s, her pies are sold at Sawyers Market on Main Street in Southwest Harbor. You’ll find them by the register of this well-known island establishment, on the counter right in front of the photo of the original shopkeeper with Julia Child.
Mary also sells the pies from her own house at 302 Main Street in Southwest Harbor, just shy of the village. Look for a simple sign in front of a white 1950 ranch, now freshly sided. There you’ll find pies arranged on a makeshift counter, that is, a table put across the open door. If you go too late, you’re also likely to see a “Sold Out” sign.
Word of mouth is spreading the excitement about IslandBound Treats. Says Maine artist Judy Taylor, “They are fresh, fresh, fresh.” Jeannette Feuer, innkeeper at Ann’s Point in Bass Harbor, reports, “Guests returned from Thurston’s and were raving about the strawberry rhubarb pie.”
To produce 40 pies a day, 50 during holiday weeks, Mary still uses her standard household GE oven, but has added two new ones in the basement. She doesn’t have a dishwasher, but this year hired a helper.
The energetic mother of three girls, 6, 7, and 9, Mary makes three kinds of pie—blueberry (“the classic”), strawberry/rhubarb (“kind of nostalgic”), and triple berry (“my favorite—I kept one for us over the Fourth”).
The recipes? Well, according to Mary, it was a process to get them where they are today. In particular, for the blueberry pie, she was looking for “juicy, not thick and gummy.” The crust? “Perfecting it just meant more and more butter.”
Mary grew up in Bar Harbor and her husband, an engineer, in Bernard. They lived in Boston for five years and, when they were on their way home for visits, they’d talk about being “island bound”. To raise their family, they decided to return to MDI, especially because of the good schools. “Now I feel island bound in a different way. I thought it was a good name for the business.”
If Mary keeps baking pies the way she has been, she’s bound for much more success. Maybe a new sun room, too.