When Hyde Park resident Lauren Barker lost her second job as server earlier this year because of the pandemic, she decided to use her love of cheese as a creative way to make up for the lost income.
“I’m very passionate about cheese,” she says. “I decided, What better time to invest in myself than when the world is shut down and I have nothing to distract me? So I spent a couple months researching, making a business plan, and building my site and I went for it.”
The result is Cheese Garden, a custom charcuterie board business, which Barker officially launched this summer. For the holidays, Barker is releasing Christmas-themed cheese boards featuring Wensleydale with cranberries, red pear, fig jam, prosciutto, pretzel thin crackers, maple glazed pecans, peppermint bark, and chocolate fudge pirouette.
Cheese Garden is also offering a holiday-themed “jarcuterie”—all of the items you would find on a charcuterie board rolled up into a mason jar. Inspired by the cheese board community on Instagram, Barker says jarcuterie is her solution to making her business’s offerings COVID-friendly while maintaining the artistic standards for her arrangements.
The jarcuterie features smoked goat cheese, Wensleydale with cranberries, Genoa salami, dark chocolate espresso beans, chocolate drizzled popcorn, a candy cane, nuts, flatbread crackers, and a rosemary sprig and cinnamon stick for garnish.
The Christmas-themed cheese board and jarcuterie offerings are available Dec. 1-24. In addition, Barker has gotten into woodworking and has started selling wooden serving boards.
“I’m very flexible, and if people tell me they want more pre-planned holiday jars on the menu or want me to switch up some ingredients, then I will take all that into consideration,” Barker says. “That’s how I’ve been navigating owning a business so far—listening to what the people want and doing my best to turn their wants into a reality.”
Visit thecheesegarden.com to place an order for a custom board or custom jar.