September 08, 2014

Happy Birthday to Us!

It's been a year. 

And in honor of our longevity, we're not asking for presents, we're giving them. The way we've decided to do that at Batch is to give away meals to those in need.

The best way to do that is to partner with our local food bank, Second Harvest. We already offer a line of five delicious gift options that, when purchased, provide meals to folks nearby. And for our birthday month, we decided to double down and provide a meal with each subscription shipped in September. 

Better yet, we used purveyors that also have a relationship with Second Harvest and also donate money to the food bank to provide meals. Here's who was all in on our birthday batch:

Eli Mason
With a full line of cocktail mixers, Luke Duncan's young company is off to a hot start. This month's infusion—demerara syrup—is perfect for any libation you'd like to sweeten up. Luke is proud to have his product be a catalyst for change in the community. He says, "Second Harvest is one of those rare organizations with the heart to serve, the quality of management needed to be effective, and the scale to actually make a dent in the problem. Eli Mason is proud to support their efforts to end hunger in Middle Tennessee." Be sure to stock up on other Eli Mason staples like the Old Fashioned or Mint Julep mixes and check out their website for recipes.

Haulin' Oats
One of our first purveyors, we're happy that this duo is back with us (and has stuck with us for a year now). The team of Tracey Levine and Cindy Muscarello crafts oatmeal with catchy flavor names. Their commitment to tasty breakfast food is matched by their goal to help feed people. "It is a both a privilege and an honor to partner with Second Harvest Food Bank in its ongoing effort to make a difference in the lives of those in need."

The Nashville Jam Co.
With new packaging, this pantry staple looks as good as it tastes. Gary Baron has been making his jams and sauces for years and now he's got a flavorful cause to boot. "No child can realize his or her full potential with an empty stomach. We have to feed those that are hungry. Second Harvest is a blessing for so many, and it is great to be a part of this campaign," says Gary. Be sure to restock when you run out of this strawberry jam and explore their other sweet offerings on their website.

Soberdough
Baking bread has never been easier than when you tell someone to "just add beer." But that's all it takes, thanks to Veronica and Jordan. This mother and son duo have combined their loves of craft beer and baking to serve up an ingenious item for your next family feast. Know what goes well with that? A commitment to give back: "We’re proud to be a part of the solution to end hunger with Second Harvest."

What a happy batch it was! And while we won't be reselling this one right now, you can help fight hunger this month and beyond by giving (to yourself or someone else) any of these five speciality batches.

 

September 06, 2014

How Batch Spends 36 Hours in Nashville

With the The New York Times weighing in on how they'd spend 36 hours in our hometown, we thought we'd share our recommendations because we like a little bit of discovery to our weekends in Music City. So hop aboard the Batch bus for a roarin' good time.

Friday at 4 PM

That's when we try to leave the office, too. And when we do, we like to head over to Corsair Artisan Distillery to their tasting room to see what the bartender has concocted for that day. Based on who's behind the bar, you'll be sampling some unique blends and cocktails, all made with Corsair's line up of quality libations. Once you're done there, stumble down the street to find other distillers opening up in Marathon Village.

Friday at 7PM

Find a Lyft driver (seriously, those pink mustaches are everywhere). and ask them to take you over to Germantown for more drinks, dining and discovery. With stalwarts like Mad Platter, City House, Rolf and Daughters, Silo, and Germantown Cafe, you're bound to find something tasty. And, check back after the First Tennessee Ballpark opens next year for triple the dinner options. 

Saturday at 8 AM

Wake up and run off your hangover and food coma. Head west out to Percy Warner and get your run, walk, or hike on via the Mossy Ridge Trail. With plenty of nature and lots of friendly faces, you won't have to leave the city limits to find the country. 

Saturday at 10 AM

Once you get cleaned up, we suggest coffee and brunch downtown. Yes, downtown in the morning on the weekend. The Frothy Monkey on 5th Avenue has mighty fine brunch offerings and lets you gaze out at passersby. Try breakfast at 417 Union or even head to SoBro for Crema or The Southern. You hiked far this morning. You earned it and the day is young with a lot of places to go.

Saturday at 1 PM

Since you're downtown, get on up to the Farmer's Market and sample some local produce or visit with (and buy wonderful things from) some Batch-approved purveyors who set up shop on the weekends. Get a snack or six. Trust us, this is the place to be (ahem).

Saturday at 3 PM

Pay Bryce McCloud and Elizabeth Williams, and their trusty dog Hiram, a visit at Isle of Printing. Root around in the prints and paraphernalia. Ask Bryce about his latest whiz-bang project combining old letterpress and cutting-edge in laser technology Grab a Nashville Sight Seer to explore hidden-in-plain-sight parts of our city.

Saturday at 4 PM

Take a nap. My God, look at all you're doing! A typical weekend for us at Batch but you may need to pace yourself.

Saturday at 5 PM

Drink local beer. Anywhere it's served up on tap or made. Our favorite spots include Yazoo, Black Abbey, and Tennessee Brew Works. Go to all three if you want because as best we can tell, when you follow one of these "36 hours in" pieces, you gain the ability to time travel.

Saturday at 7 PM

Time to eat again. And maybe be seen if you're in to that. So soak in the M Street family of restaurants down in the Gulch. And then walk around and gawk at the chain places imported from other cities that can afford the growing lease payments. Hot foot it to Patterson House for what may be the best cocktails on the planet.  

Saturday at 11 PM

How are you still awake? Oh yeah, you took our advice about that nap. Good. Because now it's time to play "Who's a Tourist" down on Broadway. Soak in the music and fun to be had at The Stage or Robert's but please be aware that anyone in a cowboy hats is from out of town. That's fine - we love them all - but citizens aren't allowed to own 10-gallon Stetons per city ordinance 41.c-4 (May 1974). It's up to you if you leave with a souvenir hat or pair of boots. After all, we can't be mentioned in the press without some reference to "country."

Sunday at 9 AM

Do you wish you were dead? Sick of Nashville? Don't be! You haven't even seen some of the cool parts like 12 South, East Nashville, Hillsboro Village, NoBro, WeBro, BroBro, or what's at the bottom of the Cumberland. No matter. If you're looking for brunch on your way out of town, go to Marche for the fancy stuff, Pancake Pantry if you like pancakes, long lines, or both, or Sky Blue for something a bit different and undiscovered. 

Sunday at Noon

Your flight is leaving. So enjoy the crooners and pickers at Tootsie's in the airport on your way out. And be sure to save some energy for that long walk to the far reaches of C terminal. Ah - who are we kidding? You're flying United and you're going to be delayed. So, seriously - hunker down at Tootsie's East.

August 14, 2014

Lazy Days are Here Again

Happy August! Our Batch Nashville customers just received a heaping helping of local goodness for our recent "Lazy Days" shipment. Keep reading to find out what was in this batch and if you like what you see, you can always grab the gift batch for you or a loved one here.

Nashville Chocolate and Nut Company
You never know when inspiration will strike, and after 10 years in the music business, Tracy Page, singer/ songwriter, found a way to blend her love of music with gourmet foods. With so many delicious product options, we bet you're sure to find something you love.

Nashville Sight Seer
The Nashville Sight Seer is another in the line of great ideas from Isle of Printing. IOP and the Sight Seer are committed to making Nashville (and the world) a better place through public art and projects which encourage exploration and creative thinking. Join us today - it's fun!

Ousley Ouch
Two decades ago, Ric and his sister Mona Ousley craved a salsa that they simply could not find anywhere. So in true American fashion, they decided to make their own. Ousley Ouch Salsa has a thick and chunky texture which comes from the onions and jalapeno peppers (grown locally) which are diced by hand.

TruBee
What began as simple beekeeping is growing into a line of delicious and useful products for your kitchen and home. With nine years under their bee veils, the husband and wife team at TruBee makes sure that each jar, lip balm, or wax rub captures the taste of nature in a particular place and time.

Walker Feed Co.
Harvesting the regional flavors of the South, Walker’s Southern Bloody Mary and Honeysuckle Sour mixes take a savory approach to any libation. Helmed by Kristin Walker, this company is offering a unique, southern take on mixers you'll want to keep on hand all year round. 

July 29, 2014

Summer in Memphis

Last week, our July Memphis batch hit doorsteps. And as things are heating up all across the city (and in most places these days), we found three awesome items to help you enjoy summertime.

Crazy Good® Specialty Foods
Jim O’Brien believes it’s okay to play with your food. That’s why this former chef is using his expertise to blend quality sauces and salsas with the right amount of heat and flavor but absolutely no corn syrup, MSG, gluten, or artificial preservatives. Having won several Scovie Awards, we’ll bet you can find a sauce that’ll make your taste buds dance.

My Cup of Tea
My Cup of Tea is a retailer/wholesaler of fine tea, teaware and gift items. It was started in 2005 with the mission of promoting the enjoyment of tea and the practice of hospitality. Their tea choices are carefully selected and come from all over the world. They hand pack their products and even offer custom packaging. With 14 varieties of specialty iced tea filters to choose from, you are sure to find something that hits the spot.

Parkway BBQ
Parkway BBQ Company is a family-owned business that loves sharing their family secrets with you! They are passionate about their products and are honored to share their family recipes with you and your family. Only the highest quality ingredients are used in their sauces, seasonings, dips and marinades (and unnecessary food additives and preservatives are avoided). The Parkway BBQ Company aims to help you take your grilling experience from average to awesome! 

Sign up for a Memphis subscription here and enjoy our new monthly price!

July 24, 2014

Getting to Work

As we've grown the team here at Batch, a lot of folks have chipped in. (Check out our growing staff here.) Whether we've needed help in packing over 1,000 boxes in a single day, or need to tie lots of bows on a wedding order, we're able to find willing and able people to help us pack, tape, sort, clean, or deliver.

Earlier this summer, we grew our team beyond our circle of family and friends (where a lot of start-ups find their first employees and contractors). Working with a local nonprofit, Oasis Center, we welcomed three students to the Batch team. 

Michiline, Ceyonte, and KD came on board in early June as part of a program Oasis manages that helps young people find employment. While most of our work here is less than glamorous, it's been a chance for these three to get a job - their first job - and for us to help meet a need. 

In addition to packing boxes, they've had a chance to weigh in on design and marketing and have helped curate new batch ideas. As school begins soon, work schedules will change, but we've been honored to grow our team in a passionate and purposeful way. 

July 23, 2014

Super Summer Sauce Sweepstakes

You wanna keep your grill local this summer? Of course you do. How about adding a little savory and a little spice to your summer cook outs with our slammin' Super Summer Sauce Sweepstakes? 

Here are 12 delicious sauces we've found from all over the South. Up for grabs is a fantastically large batch that includes:

  • Saltherin' Sauce (16 oz.) from Slather Brand Foods (Charleston, SC)
  • Southwest Sweet Heat (5 oz.) from Crazy Good Foods (Hernando, MS)
  • Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce (15.75 oz.) from Bronco Bob's (Dallas, TX)
  • Ruby Red Sauce (12 oz.) from Sweet Melissa's (Birmingham, AL)
  • Hot Sauce (5 oz.) from Cochon (New Orleans, LA)
  • Slap Sauce (16 oz.) from Firebud Brands (Atlanta, GA)
  • Crawmama's Gourmet Sweet N Hot Dippin' Sauce (16 oz.) from Crawdad's Classics (Nashville, TN)
  • Rooster Sauce (12 oz.) from Crazy Good Foods (Memphis, TN)
  • Kickin' Chicken White Sauce (13.5 oz.) from BBQ Fight Club (Nashville, TN)
  • Doc Baron's Apple Ketchup (15 oz.) from The Nashville Jam Company (Nashville, TN)
  • Bourbon Liquor Grilling Sauce (15 oz.) from Southern City Flavors (Nashville, TN)
  • BBQ Sauce (19.4 oz.) from Parkway (Memphis, TN)

That's right - we're giving ALL THAT away! It's easy to enter - just use the handy widget below (extra points for doing the Pinterest thing). Enter as many times as you like until July 31. A winner will be announced on August 1!

 

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July 18, 2014

Look What We Found in New Orleans

For our fourth Tour of the South stop, we headed down to New Orleans. And we came back and boxed up five awesome things for our subscribers. (And if you weren't one of those, don't worry! You can snag each item below as part of our New Orleans Gift Batch.)

Bag of rice from Cajun Grain
This bag of locally grown rice will have you hooked the first time it's cooked. Its tantalizing nutty aroma will have you salivating before the first bite. Because the rice is milled as close as possible to its ship date, it's as fresh as possible, preventing that cooked hard rice texture. Added bonus: the nutrition level is at its peak when you get it (to keep this freshness, store it in the freezer). Cajun Grain rice is in the hands of the farmer from planting until packaging. For those concerned about gluten-free foods, this closed system is what sets them apart from almost all other rice brands. The equipment the rice is harvested and hauled with has never been used on a field of wheat, barley or rye. The bins that the rice is stored in have never stored wheat, barley or rye. This prevents cross-contamination “from farm to foodie”. And they're small enough to check on your rice in the fields, everyday. Now that’s quality control!

Hot sauce from Cochon
We hope you enjoy this traditionally crafted Cajun classic. The warm flavors and mild heat of ripe Santa Fe Peppers, a hint of vinegar, garlic and subtle smoke make it a perfect fit for grilled or braised pork, adds some heat to grilled fish and shrimp and spice to soups and stews. What better accoutrement could we offer during this tour stop in New Orleans? Best of all, the sauce is a product of a fantastic restaurant. At Cochon, Chef Link has reconnected with his culinary roots, serving the traditional Cajun Southern dishes he grew up with. Chef Link and Chef/Co-owner Stephen Stryjewski are working with locally sourced pork, fresh produce and seafood, focusing on traditional methods, creating authentic flavors of Cajun country. The restaurant is set in a rustic, yet contemporary interior of a renovated New Orleans warehouse. So the next time you're working or playing, stop in and sit a spell. 

Fruit syrup from Locally Preserved
Locally Preserved allows real people to eat regionally grown and produced foods, based on season. The all natural syrup in this batch is made using produce sourced in season from the likes of Louisiana, Mississippi & Alabama. This fruit syrup will make it super easy for home chefs to make chef-quality cocktails, mocktails, glazes, vinaigrettes, marinades, sauces—you get the idea. We really fell in love with what Emily Vanlandingham is making due to not only her commitment to locally-sourced items that make delicious products, but also her view that consumers can have the wholesomeness of the fruit without all that artificial nonsense. "Customers thank me all day long because they just can’t get any sugar-free products with just the berries," she says.

Box of handmade caramels from Maxine & Ila's
Here's a sweet story to read while you're making these caramels disappear: Maxine and Ila's Caramels were born from the owners' love of cooking, caramel and the memories of their grannies. David's grandmother, Maxine, was born and raised in Monrovia, California. Donna's grandmother, Ila, was born in Coushatta, Louisiana and moved to New Orleans at age 18 to marry her sweetheart in the Navy. Although Maxine and Ila never met, they certainly had a little (big) something to do with David and Donna finding each other in this big world. With Ila's antique pot, and local ingredients, Donna and David strive to make the best tasting caramel you have ever had! Maxine & Ila's use only local all natural ingredients, with no additives to preserve the pure essence of New Orleans food and flavors. Whether it's their unforgettable caramels you're getting in this batch or their caramel sauce, each product they crank out is made to love.

Bar of soap from Sweet Olive Soap Works
Emily Davis' story couldn't be more authentically Crescent City: born at Charity Hospital in the aftermath of the great flood of ’78 and brought home in a canoe on the still-flooded streets of New Orleans, her first sentence was “Throw me sumpthin’, Mista!” All that said, she's determined to make soap the hard way. Sweet Olive Soap Works was created out of Emily's intense desire to promote the healthier aspects of the region and culture that she loves. Her grandmother Anna Mae had been a soapmaker, owned her own business and dedicated countless summer afternoons to sharing her skills with Emily. After nearly two decades of experimenting with Anna Mae's recipes and inventing many more of her own along the way, she became convinced that continuing the family tradition was her calling. Whenever possible, ingredients are locally sourced and Sweet Olive Soap Works is proud to work in partnership with environmentally responsible businesses and individuals throughout the state of Louisiana to bring you a truly home-grown bath & body experience. 

Grab the whole set here!

July 17, 2014

Summer in the City

Hot times, folks. It's summer in the city.

To welcome the warming weather (although most of us around the U.S. have gotten a reprieve this week), our July subscription batch from Nashville included five great items to help you enjoy summer in your city.

A set of iconic coasters from Anderson Design Group
Using the critically-acclaimed Spirit of Nashville Collection—a series of illustrated prints and gifts designed in the tradition of the "Golden Age of Poster Art"—Anderson Design Group has now created coasters. This series has won countless awards and has acheived international recognition.

A jar of Bathtub Gin spread
Bathtub Gin is an artisanal fruit spread business born from two sisters' passion for homemade jam, handcrafted cocktails and a love of all things related to the 1920s and 30s. Bathtub Gin uses organic ingredients, chooses locally grown produce whenever possible and firmly believes that using the highest quality fruits and liquors available creates the absolute best tasting fruit spreads.

Iced coffee blend from Bongo Java
Bongo Java has been brewing coffee in Nashville since 1993. They support communities by expanding the definition of quality to include how stuff is produced, purchased and served. They buy as much organically produced foods and coffee from regional producers as is practical and 100% of their coffee is organic, bought almost directly from small-scale producers.

Bag of peanut brittle from Brittle Brothers
Nashville’s own Brittle Brothers has taken Great Grandma Spalding’s old fashioned recipe from the 1840’s and perfected it into a most delicious peanut brittle, cashew brittle and pecan brittle. It is truly a Nashville treasure, but Brittle Brothers is spreading across the country.

Decorative paper straw set from Hester & Cook
When Angie Hester met Robbie Cook, neither knew their relationship would lead to marriage and a business partnership. Eight years into their business, Hester & Cook Design Group is a leader in the gift industry, and their brands Kitchen Papers and CAKE Vintage Table & Home can be found at fine retailers. A portion of all sales benefit the Wonderful Life Foundation. 

Like what you see? Grab the whole Summer in the City batch here!

July 08, 2014

The Writing's on the Package

One of the cool things about finding so many great items around the South (for now) is the personal touch that many of our purveyors offer. Of course, a great many of our goods from each city are handmade or handcrafted, but it's also fun to see the additional detail that can happen on some items.

As we were looking around at inventory the other day here at global HQ, we noticed three awesome products that include the maker's handwriting. 

For starters, here's Farmstead Milk Soap from Little Seed Farm. They write the production date on the label.

And then there's our friends at Reverb Coffee in Memphis who pen where the coffee comes from and when it was roasted.

And lastly - and maybe our personal favorite touch - check out Tiny Buffalo Baking Company out of Atlanta. Audrey (who's awesome) lets you know that she (or whomever helped) packed your granola goodness. 

There are lots of other personal touches you can find, but when you see a maker's handiwork like this - well, that's hard to find at some big box places. 

July 07, 2014

Scenes from a Market

Summer is in full swing and along with some sweltering days where your shirt sticks to your ribs by the time you crank your car, you'll also find farmer's markets up and running, teeming with produce, flowers, baked goods, and an assortment of local products. 

Markets were how we at Batch found our first purveyors nearly a year ago. Armed with simple info cards and a knack for friendly conversation, our team hopped around Nashville meeting passionate people making delicious goodies and crafts by the (literal) carload.

Last weekend, we scoured the same in Charleston in preparation for our launch there. We'd heard a lot about this hotbed of local flavor and skill and we weren't disappointed. 

From Madison, Wisconsin to Madison, Tennessee markets are growing and well-trafficked. It's a pleasure to see so many hardworking entrepreneurs, happy to share their wares and stories with a customer base excited to try something new, something borrowed (like a family recipe) and something blue (like blueberries).

What markets do you frequent? What's the best one you've seen in your neck of the woods?

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