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Lynn’s cake cupboard is no secret anymore

Lynn Johnson of Hayfield Croft Produce: '. I’ve got messages from people all over the world' - Photo: Hans J Marter/ Shetland News

A SHETLAND roadside honesty fridge offering everything from cakes and snacks to drinks and tourist information was swamped with customers after opening for the summer on Saturday.

Lynn Johnson of Hayfield Croft Produce said she had spent most of Friday night in her kitchen baking.

Her first customer of the season called along before 7am on Saturday and by the afternoon her ‘cake cupboard’ had run out of stock.

The fridge at East Burrafirth, on the single-track road between Voe and Aith, has become something of a Shetland institution over the last few years.

It’s the brainchild of Lynn Johnson, who first launched a simpler honesty box around ten years ago selling tatties before adding jams and chutneys to her stock.

It was when she made too many bannocks for her family and decided to sell some in her honesty box that the idea for stocking cakes took off.

Now the fridge, which is not turned on but acts as a cupboard, is so popular that queues even form on Sundays and stag and hen parties stop off to visit it.

“I do it now to supplement my income”, the social care worker said.

“One Sunday morning I was baking bannocks for our family to have alongside rhubarb jam that I’d made, but I’d made far too much, so I put some in the honesty cupboard, which in its original form was an old wardrobe – it’s now upgraded to a fridge. It’s just gone from strength to strength.”

Lynn says she even gets up at 3am at the weekends to ensure the cakes are fresh for the weekend, which is when it is at its busiest.

The fridge is usually restocked four or five times on Saturdays and Sundays, but it is still open throughout the week, so you can “come and get cake at three in the afternoon or three in the morning.”

It operates on an honesty basis and many people leave tips, but it hasn’t always quite worked exactly to plan.

“I’d say 99 per cent of people are exceptionally honest,” Lynn said. “But we have had a few instances where people have stolen goods purposely.

“On one occasion last summer we had a bunch of youngsters who stole 15 boxes of tiffin in one go and wrote me a note in the book saying ‘thanks for the free food, kiss kiss kiss’.”

Lynn predicts this summer will be busier than ever, and she looks set to continue to welcome visitors to the fridge from both Shetland and further afield.

“It’s as popular with locals as it is with tourists. It’s still a little bit of a secret I suppose, as we don’t have any big signposts leading to it,” Lynn said.

“Some people stumble across it by accident, and that adds to its mystical nature.

“I have a little notebook in the cupboard and often people will write me a little note. I’ve got messages from people all over the world.”