New city business, Fed by Foley, prepares meat and cheese boards for individuals, larger clients

0 136

NORTHAMPTON — After Jill Foley moved back to Northampton in 2020, she found herself putting together all of the food for a big party, including a charcuterie board. A city native, she had always enjoyed cooking, entertaining and hosting.

“A few people said, ‘You’re so great … When did you open the catering business?’” she recalled. “I said, ‘No I didn’t, nor would I ever.’”

But with the encouragement of friends and family, that’s exactly what Foley did. After pulling all of the necessary permits, earlier this year Foley launched her new charcuterie board business, Fed by Foley. She is now putting together everything from cheese boards and mezze platters to crudité and “grazing tables” for clients across the Valley.

A French term for prepared meats, charcuterie boards have grown in popularity in recent years on this side of the Atlantic. In Amherst, a store specializing in pickup and delivery of charcuterie boards and boxes, Graze Craze, recently opened.

Foley said that there are other businesses similar to hers in western Massachusetts, but that there weren’t any in this particular area when she decided to open.

“People are getting back together, they’re gathering again,” she said. “I felt like there was a real market here for this kind of service.”

For Foley, the perfect charcuterie board has the largest variety possible. She said that starts with a broad array of cheeses, from soft ones — a brie or creamy goat cheese, for example — to spicy or smoked gouda. But not everyone is as adventurous, so she also includes a mellow cheddar, for example.

Of course, there will be accouterments, too: jam to go with cheese, for example. Foley mentioned a particular wild blueberry jam that is “a party in your mouth.”

“That’s what I’m looking for,” she said.

Foley’s boards can have fresh berries, kiwi, grapes, chocolate and nuts — “a really cool variety” of tastes and experiences, she said.

Then there are the meats, of course. Foley said she often puts together salami in the shape of a rose, which is a client favorite. But personally, she said those are hard to pull apart, and she wants everything to be easy to grab and eat quickly, whether it’s prosciutto or a wedge of cheese.

Foley has been teaching those skills to others across the Valley. She has worked, for example, with Glendale Ridge Vineyard in Southampton to put on a build-a-board workshop.

“You show up and I bring everything you need,” Foley said. “And you leave with your beautiful charcuterie board.”

Food presentation is a part of the workshops, though Foley’s attitude is inclusive of all kinds of skill levels.

“I think beautiful food tastes better,” she said. “But the great news is that ugly food doesn’t taste any worse.”

Foley has made food for a wide range of clients, from backyard birthday parties to weddings, corporate gatherings to small get-togethers. This weekend, for example, she is putting together a spread for a 30th birthday party, and next week she is putting together charcuterie cups for a networking event put on by the company D.A. Sullivan & Sons, Inc.

Prices vary depending on the size of the order. Those cups, for example, which come with a variety of cheese, meat, cheese, fruit and nuts, cost $14. She has a small charcuterie board that feeds between three and four people for $55 and sells a bigger board for around 10 people for $125.

Foley has also put on “charcuterie for community” events to raise money for local organizations, including Safe Passage of Northampton, Manna Community Kitchen and the Hatfield Parent-Teachers Association.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.