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.
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:
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!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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.
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!
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.
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?
Earlier this year, we began officially helping brides and wedding planners (and some grooms, too) create memorable gifts and keepsakes to help celebrate their big day. And now we're excited for Batch Weddings to officially strut its stuff at NotWedding when it comes to Nashville on June 18!
If you're planning a wedding in Nashville, you won't want to miss the NotWedding! Some of the best wedding vendors in town are combining forces to throw a big, awesome, fake wedding next week. It's a great opportunity to see everybody in action.
Last week, Batch had the opportunity to participate in a styled shoot with some of the other NotWedding vendors. We might be biased, but if the styled shoot was any indication of what's to come, next week's NotWedding is going to be absolutely amazing! (Scroll down to see what we're talking about.) These florists, photographers, planners, and stationers (and caterers and bakers and everyone else) are pulling out all the stops to make it a great event. Come get inspired and meet the people who can make your wedding perfect.
As we grow our monthly subscription and gift offerings to the very awesome city of Charleston, we're looking for someone on the ground there to become part of our team.
This person will be the "face" of Batch in the city, working hand-in-hand with local purveyors to find the best stuff to send our customers. We're also looking for someone to can offer up customized curated gift batches for our corporate and wedding clients.
We don't have many qualifications or requirements outside of someone who's willing to work hard, has a deep passion for local food and goods, and is able to dream big.
In fact, our full job description is here. Take a look and if you think this is you, send us a note. Or, pass this along if you have the perfect person in mind.
Last week's Tour of the South stop in Charleston was a great way to confirm suspicions we've had almost since the beginnings of Batch last year. When looking for products to include in our May shipment, we noticed lots of great items being made by local purveyors. From sauces to rub, coasters to candles, cookies to coffee - Charleston certainly is a hotbed of handmade goods.
So, we decided to stay.
Our Tour of the South subscribers were the first to hear about our announcement last week. Come September, you can expect monthly shipments from Charleston to land on your doorstep.
Each month, we'll find at least four quality, locally-made items to send your way, all batched together around a common theme. You'll get the same great service and product selection from us, just like we currently offer in Nashville and Memphis.
We'll be hiring someone to oversee our operations in Charleston and begin looking for great things to batch up and send your way this summer.
And until the end of May (that's next week), you can be one of our early Charleston tastemakers. We're offering a great deal for those of you who want to reserve our first monthly Charleston shipments. For just $99, you can get four months' worth (September, October, November, December) of Charleston goodness sent to you (or a friend). Of course, if you'd rather pay month-to-month, you can do that, too.
Our first shipment in September will be Rise and Shine, followed up with Tailgate (October), and Gather 'Round the Table (November). And, as we've mentioned, if you order now, you'll get December's batch, too.
We can't wait to bring you all the great stuff we're finding in Charleston. It's a great time to experience this wonderful Southern city. Won't you come along with us?
This week, when we shipped our Tour of the South installment from Charleston, it marked our 10,000th batch shipped since we began last fall.
That's a lot of boxes.
We are extremely grateful for the support of each one of you, who have bought batches for yourself or given them to others. Your support and commitment to locally-made, high-quality products makes us excited to pack boxes and ship them out to you.
We're also thankful for the fine purveyors out there, who are willing to work with us to discover new customers and get their awesome goods into the hands of people around the country.
Here's to 10,000 more!