Skip to main content

Switch Up Your Routine with a Ploughman’s Lunch From The Cheese Board at Vermont Farmstead

Jun 01, 2017 03:41PM ● By Linda Ditch
Are you tired of the standard sandwich, chips, and a piece of fruit for lunch? Have salads become boring, and leftover food tiresome? Perhaps the kids are complaining about their lunch for summer camp or at home?

Why not try a ploughman’s lunch instead? This is a popular British pub meal that fits right in with the current boxed-lunch trend. Tradition states this lunch was served to ploughmen when they took a break from their arduous work in the fields, but after more research, I discovered it was actually created as an advertising gimmick for the country’s Milk Marketing Board in the 1960s to promote the consumption of cheese. However, there are references to the phrase in the 1837 Oxford English Dictionary, and there was a meal that was popular before World War II called the ploughboy’s lunch, so perhaps the marketing people were just promoting a menu item that already existed in one form or another.

Traditionally, a ploughman’s lunch consists of a piece of cheese, a thick slice of crusty bread, pickled onions, fresh veggies, and a UK favorite known as Branston pickle (which is more like a relish). I’ve been told this meal is also popular in Germany. Then there is the romantic French-style picnic of cheese, a fresh loaf of bread, and a bottle of wine—seems to fit right in with this type of lunch. If your kids beg for those bright-yellow, pre-boxed lunches of cheese, lunchmeat, crackers, and juice, the ploughman’s lunch is the same idea (but a whole lot healthier).

I typically stick to the basics—cheese, crusty bread, veggies from the farmer’s market, marinated olives, and a dill pickle wedge. Sometimes I substitute crackers for the bread. Once in a while, instead of cheese I like to have hummus or pimento cheese spread, or a bit of chicken or tuna salad. Leftover grilled chicken, roasted turkey, or marinated steak can be sliced thinly and included with the meal.

The Cheese Board at Vermont Farmstead is the perfect place to find provisions for your ploughman’s lunch. Not only will you find a huge selection of cheeses and charcuterie, but they also have a few jams, spreads, and chutneys to substitute for the Branston pickle. You might check out the Wozz Kitchen Creations Triple Ale Onion Savory Spread, Blue Valley Gourmet Cheese Companion Spreads, or the Catamount Caramelized Sweet Onion Jelly. Just ask one of the staff to point you in the right direction.

If you’re putting together a ploughman’s lunch for a light summer supper or vacation/weekend lunch, Mike at Woodstock Beverage can help you pick out an ale or wine to go with your meal. Otherwise, just add a bottle of your favorite beverage, and you’re all set to go.

To make this lunch more kid-friendly, mix up their favorite nut butter or cream cheese with raisins, dried cranberries, grated apple or carrot to use as a dip for veggies or crackers. Instead of bread or crackers, include some homemade tortilla chips. Plastic containers with small, individual compartments make quick work of packing a ploughman’s lunch for summer camp or the office.

The Cheese Board

71 Artisans Park 
Windsor, VT 05089
(802) 674-4260



Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Woodstock Magazine's free newsletter to catch every headline