For Liana MacDonald and Jaime Margolis, work can be stressful.
As overnight labor and delivery nurses at South Shore Hospital in Massachusetts, the pair always have to be sharp, alert and precise. Both say they love their jobs, but it’s not one they’d call relaxing.
So when it comes to their side gig — a recently-launched charcuterie business called Board Certified — MacDonald and Margolis of Marshfield say they cherish the creative outlet, low-pressure environment and overall good vibes they try to curate through their work.
“We wanted a side job that wasn’t a 12-hour nursing shift. Something that was fun and less stressful,” Margolis said. “We thought it would be something we could do just a few hours per week, but we’ve already grown past that.”
MacDonald and Margolis launched Board Certified, which they run out of a rented commercial kitchen space, around the holidays last year. Together, the wine and cheese enthusiasts make elaborate charcuterie boards for get togethers, date nights or gifts. They were already making the snack boards at home for their families, both women said, so it felt like a natural fit.
In just the three months since they’ve opened, the business has gone from one order per week to easily a dozen, and they can make up to 50 around holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
“We weren’t ever expecting it,” MacDonald said of the company’s growth. “We didn’t realize how many people loved these and how popular it could be. There’s a lot that goes in to it, but it’s a fun kind of thinking. It’s creative and we enjoy it.”
Board Certified sells four sizes of charcuterie board, each of which includes at least three cheeses, two meats, honey, jam, fruit and sweets. The boards are a labor of love for MacDonald and Margolis, who design and assemble each one by hand. It’s a collaborative process for the pair, and they aren’t afraid to ask each other questions or butt in with ideas.
Each board has to be both tasty and aesthetically pleasing, MacDonald explained, and they try to fill the board with things that pair well together.
“We try to add things that would make a nice bite,” she said. “If you have a sharp cheddar you can add a chili cracker or if you have a blueberry goat cheese, you may want something else.”
Outside of general boards, the pair tries to personalize or design around a theme whenever they can. For Valentine’s Day, for example, most boards were loaded up on chocolate and included a rose made out of salami. For St. Patrick’s Day, boards will likely include an Irish porter cheddar and for Father’s Day they’re experimenting with beer cheeses and pretzels.
This month, which marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, every box sold comes with a mini box for the buyer to give to a healthcare worker of their choice.
On a recent day in the kitchen, the pair was putting together a board as a gift for someone who had just had a baby girl. They threw in strawberry covered pretzels and pink cookies, then tied a pink ribbon around the box.
“If you add just a little something personal, it goes a long way and makes people think ‘Oh, this was made just for me,’ which is special,” MacDonald said.
Neither MacDonald nor Margolis had any experience with small business before, and said it has been a learning process for the last several months. One thing that is clear, they said, is that South Shore residents are eager to support small, local companies.
“People like that we’re local and that it’s all put together by hand instead of just ordering another gift basket or fruit tray for a big chain company,” Margolis said.
“People around here are eager to buy local, which we really appreciate,” MacDonald added.
Boards can be ordered on the company’s website, board-certified-charcuteries.square.site. Mini boards start at $20 and large platters, which serve six to 10 people, start at $100. Local delivery is available with the exception of major holidays.
Photos in this post were taken by the wonderfully talented Greg Derr. They were originally published in The Patriot Ledger.