When Meghan Fennell and Charles Fischman were starting their bakery business, Friday Pie Club, they had faith that their pies, turnovers and biscuits would win over customers.

What they couldn’t stand, though, was the idea of risking the quality of their products by using conventional distribution channels to get their pastries to their customers.

“We didn’t think our pies would stand up to the type of handling it would take to get on a grocery shelf on a daily basis,” said Fischman. “And that would not have necessarily reflected well on us if it sat out too long or got crushed in the journey from the stockroom to the shelves.”

After years of retailing experience – they met while working at Royal River Natural Foods – the business partners didn’t want to lose control over the quality of the product they worked so hard to create.

They succeeded by taking a simpler and more personal if not more painstaking tack: They deliver each pastry to each customer themselves.

“We wanted to take a more gradual approach,” said Fennell. “And we wanted to have that direct contact with customers, and directly serving people who enjoy our pie was a very important part of it.”

Eight months in, they’ve already tasted a measure of success that most startups have to wait years for: They’ve made a profit. They now deliver up to 600 turnovers and 12 to 15 pies each week.

Rather than building a kitchen of their own, which would have been cost-prohibitive and required taking on a mountain of debt, they rented a commercial kitchen in the basement of the 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth.

In February, they started taking orders through fridaypieclub.com, selling pies for $25 and a box of six turnovers for $15, and delivering products to customers’ doorsteps each Friday.

In May, Fennell and Fischman started selling their pastries at the farmers markets in Yarmouth, Gardiner, Hallowell and Topsham, and made appearances at special events like the Royal River Music Festival in Yarmouth and Farm-to-Table dinner at Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport.

They also partnered with four local farms with Community Supported Agriculture, which allow consumers to buy shares of crops directly from the participating farms. Each week, Fischman and Fennell would customize their menus around the crops that were being harvested. When kale was in season, for instance, the pair offered kale, potato and sausage turnovers, which CSA members could order and pick up when they retrieved their weekly farm shares.

Determining what kinds of pastries to make each week was a challenge. Consumer appetites could sometimes prove tricky if not impossible to predict.

For instance, wild blueberry pies – as iconic as the lobster roll in Maine – fell flat this summer. Yet blueberry ginger pies were wildly popular. At the farmers markets, slices of squash pie turned out to be a hit with teenage boys, while the girls coveted slices of lemon chess pie, a sweet blend of lemon, sugar, eggs and milk. Apple crumb, pear cranberry and green tomato pies were all best-sellers.

Often, Fennell and Fischman just went with what tasted good. The rhubarb-frangipane, a French-style 9-inch pie with an almond cream and rhubarb filling in a double-crust, was a variation on the traditional rhubarb pastry.

Mexican pumpkin pie, a 9-inch, single-crust pumpkin pie with cinnamon, cocoa powder and chipotle, was a twist on a traditional Thanksgiving dessert.

“We’re always thinking of new combinations and bearing in mind what feedback we’ve gotten from customers,” Fischman said.

A large part of their success has been the unique ingredient that sets their product apart: a homemade lard sourced from Maine farms that lends the pastries a savory flavor.

They buy local leaf fat – the highest grade of pork fat – directly from local farmers and meat processors. They render the lard themselves, a two- to four-hour process in which they chop the fat and slowly melt it on a stovetop over a low temperature. Once refrigerated the lard becomes solid – the consistency of butter – and ready to be used for a pastry dough.

While some advised that leaf lard would be a hard sell – especially at a time when products free of fat, sugar and gluten are enjoying unprecedented popularity – consumers have embraced the taste. “We’ve had a lot of enthusiasm and a really positive reception,” said Fennell.

For some of the older customers, the pies offer a serving of nostalgia.

“People remember their grandmothers and mothers making pastry dough this way, and get very excited about it,” said Fischman. “It reminds them of what they used to eat when they were younger.”

Their name, Friday Pie Club, comes from their original delivery day of Fridays. People have asked about how exclusive the “club” is – whether they have to buy pies in bulk to qualify, or fill out an application or pay a fee to join. The answer is no.

“People think it’s fun and would like to hear more, and it’s a way for us to share the story of how we got started,” said Fischman.