I’d call it one of one of Scott County’s great treasures. It is Cinnamon Ridge Store, located north of Donahue at 10600 275th Ave. It’s across 275th Avenue from the lane leading to Cinnamon Ridge Farms (tourmyfarm.com), another Scott County treasure.
Cinnamon Ridge Farms (Photos above were taken by Sherry Roberts) is a huge, state-of-the art farm owned and operated by the Joan and John Maxwell family. They milk Jersey dairy cows with robots and make cheese and cheese curds from the milk produced on the farm. They also raise beef cattle, pigs, goats and chickens, and they produce corn, soybeans and winter wheat.
In addition to farming activities, Cinnamon Ridge, which also has a Facebook page, is available for tours, meetings and parties. The tours are by reservation only and booked through their website.
As impressive as all of that is, my favorite part of the entire operation is that little store on 275th Avenue.
The rustic store of roughly 12-by-20 feet with a front porch and an American flag waving in the summer breeze, is easily recognized. It sits next to a giant carved yellow corncob.
The knotty pine-paneled interior gives the store the feel of a cabin in the woods.
Air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter, Cinnamon Ridge Store, which has been in operation for six years, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Joan.
For sale there are firewood, jellies and jams, cold drinks, baked goods, beef, pork, eggs, cheese and soap made from milk.
“We also have cutting boards made by John’s brother from native wood,” said Joan.
My wife, our granddaughter Marin and I visited Cinnamon Ridge Store recently and left with some frozen sirloin steaks, apple streusel bread, kalamata olive cheddar cheese, brown eggs, soap and beef jerky, all of which came from the farm.
What’s really amazing is, the store is run on the honor system. The price is clearly marked on each item and there’s a calculator on which to total your purchases. You then put your money through a slot on the back wall, and it drops into a small locked room.
Joan said most people are good about paying for their purchases. In fact, “many times they pay more than what their bill is.”
She said, “We have many people who watch our store. The community really embraces the store.”
A while back some farm boys were out during the early morning hours and saw someone in the store, Joan said, and “decided they’d better check it out because they weren’t so sure about it.”
The young men later told Joan the customers “were OK.”
The Maxwells have received phone calls or texts on rare occasions from people who have seen a customer who didn’t pay.
Joan Maxwell said Cinnamon Ridge Store is “not a huge moneymaker, but it is way for us to market our beef. We get more for the beef than we would if we sold it to a packer.”
Customers appreciate this Scott County treasure. A whiteboard on the back wall is full of positive messages from past patrons.
Copyright 2016 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This piece ran as a column in the North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa.