In the time of COVID-19, it’s rare that the pandemic leads to the start of a food business rather than the end of one. But that is exactly what happened for Farm to Fingers, a new service that creates and delivers grazing boards, boxes and tables featuring local foods.
Last spring, Alexis Saghie was working for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an intergovernmental economic organization in Paris, while finishing her master’s degree in humanitarian health at Johns Hopkins University. But 2020 has had a knack for disrupting plans, and after the pandemic hit, she found herself back home in Durango and she needed something to do.
Unable to travel abroad, Saghie focused her love of cooking into making grazing boards for her family.
“And then I went, ‘OK, well, this could actually be a fun thing to do right now while I’m home,’” she said. “So I created a business. And then I just started posting on Instagram, and it’s been insane. The community has been so supportive, and I’m shocked – I didn’t think that Durango would like this kind of stuff.”
She formally created the business in September, but really began seeing business in November, ramping up into the holiday season, she said.
Saghie custom creates the boxes, boards or tables based on how many people will be grazing from them. The boxes serve up to 10 people, the boards up to 30 and tables are designed to serve up a large gathering, such as a wedding. The boxes begin at $12 and the boards begin at $120. The tables are based on the event for which they are designed.
Farm to Fingers’ selections come in four basic styles:
“Mezze” draws from Saghie’s Lebanese roots and includes hummus, stuffed grape leaves, cured meats, tzatziki, seasonal fruit, olives, herb-marinated feta, seasonal vegetables, pita bread, nuts, za’atar and olive oil.“Crudités” features seasonal vegetables, marinated feta, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon white bean dip, vinaigrette, olive oil and a French baguette.“Cheese & Charcuterie” has artisan cheeses, cured meats, nuts, olives, seasonal fruit, dried fruit, crackers, bread, cherry thyme butter and dark chocolate.And “Sweet” captures its theme with whipped ricotta, honey lavender goat cheese, seasonal fruit, European biscuits, candied nuts, dark chocolate, jam and honey.
“I kind of try and put a different twist on it and put like chocolate-covered pretzels or gingersnap cookies or something different that’s kind of not just the plain meat and cheese that you might get from a restaurant that’s just serving a charcuterie board,” Saghie said.
As time passes, she said she might change out three of the styles in favor of new ones, keeping the relatively standard “Cheese & Charcuterie.”
Saghie makes many of the more complex components and spreads, such as the hummus and bean dip, herself. She is seeking partnerships with local food producers, but in the meantime is sourcing ingredients from area businesses such as James Ranch for the cheeses and Honeyville for the honey.
Farm to Fingers can currently be found on Facebook and Instagram, and the best way order one of its curated food collections right now is by emailing Saghie at firstname.lastname@example.org. She plans to have a website up and running in the new year.
Had the coronavirus not swept across the globe, Saghie would likely still be abroad, working for an intergovernmental or nongovernmental organization, she said. But creating tasty grazing boards is her way of making the best of the situation while being home.