Spring Arrivals April 22 2014
Springtime is here, and with it allergies. But also: new Batches!
With Mother's Day just around the corner, we're excited to offer a few uniquely curated Batches that make great gifts. Better yet, we also will gift wrap all Mother's Day orders so your mom (or the mother figure in your life) will get a lovely looking (and great tasting) treat on her big day.
Here's what we've got:
This Batch is perfect for the host or hostess who wants to add some local flair to their race-watching party or tailgate. The Derby runs on May 3, followed by Steeplechase a week later. Grab this Batch and be ready for your guests (or enjoy it all yourself) whether they're looking for cocktails or snacks. To get you in the spirit, you'll really enjoy Eli Mason's new Mint Julep Mix.
You don't have to get this for Mom, but we're sure she won't mind it. A Batch full of sweets, this one also features two exclusives: Chocuterie from Olive and Sinclair (currently only available at their shop) and Momma Nik's caramel sauce. To top that off, we're also serving up a tin of chocolates from our new in-house food line: Revelry.
Every mother can use a little pampering and we're doing our part to keep that pampering local. This Batch - gift wrapped for the occasion - features four local bath and beauty items to help mom relax and enjoy her big day (truth be told, every day should be her big day).
Pack it Up, Ship it Out April 03 2014
This week's Nashville Scene features a story on Batch and gives you a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at our operation. Check it out here.
Big Vs. Small April 02 2014
Yesterday, we notified all your fine people about our new business deal with Wal-Mart. We broke this news on April 1, and most folks understood it was an attempt at an innocent prank that is befitting of the day.
But a lot of people didn't, which was a little fun and a little troublesome.
Yesterday's "announcement" is here, and the short of it is that we emailed, blogged, and tweeted our new expansion nationwide by shipping Wal-Mart products in upcoming Batches.
A lot of people were excited for us. I got congratulatory emails and phone calls from friends admiring our prowess to land the retail giant. My Facebook page had comments and notes from those genuinely happy about Batch's success. Later in the day, as I ran into two friends, I had to lift the veil and tell them the deal was a farce.
We're proud that you believe in us enough to think we can pull off a deal of this magnitude. We have very big plans for Batch and what it can be and where it can go, but shipping goods you can buy at any Wal-Mart is not part of those plans.
Some other people were angry with us, writing to tell us they won't be customers of ours any longer, that they can't believe we'd want to work with Wal-Mart, and that we're going against all we claim to stand for and champion. While we don't like angry emails, we do like that people are associating our brand with advocating for and helping out small businesses and makers around the US.
But overall, the joke was another attempt on our part to highlight the growing rift each of us feels as a consumer when it comes to big vs. small.
Small can be intimate, personal, and comforting. Meeting a baker or farmer at a local market reassures us that there are people out there dedicated to and passionate about their craft.
Big scales, ensuring that more people can have access to something. And if that something is a well-made, delicious, or satisfying product, then that means more people can enjoy something of value.
Big can also be anonymous, though. Buying something that's made and sold by the metric ton means we don't always know where it came from, what's in it, or how it was made.
Big overwhelms, small walks alongside. Big is powerful, small is meek. Big gets corporate, small stays relatable.
There are times when we want big, and times when our soul craves small. Some days are big days, some days are small days, and our choices determine what we opt for and when.
Yes - at Batch we promote the small before the big, but a lot of our small purveyors have very big dreams.
Big isn't always bad and small isn't always best. Our hope - for ourselves and our purveyors - is that we can grow together but that no matter how big we get, we still have those small beginnings at heart. We want our small values to form the bedrock upon which we dream and build big.
So thanks for playing along yesterday. Back to your regularly-scheduled (small and big) Batches.
Helping You Live Better April 01 2014
Since we began, we've tried hard to bring you the best products in the most convenient way possible (by bringing directly them to you). And now, we're very proud to announce that our offering is only getting bigger and better.
After months of back and forth and ideas and feedback, we're proud to announce a brand new, national partnership with Wal-Mart. We're excited as this makes Batch an immediate national brand, available as far and wide as our new retail partner.
Quite frankly, we'd be fools to not align our brand with Wal-Mart, which started with one store in a small Arkansas town over 50 years ago and now boasts over 11,000 stores. Their endless aisles are stocked with items that are perfect for future batches, beginning with next month's "Look What We Put in a Can" theme.
We hope to bring the experience of shopping at Wal-Mart to our subscribers (that's you!) through special gift batches featuring random assortments of items ranging from feather dusters to corn tortillas to car batteries to deodorant. And while we don't want to jump the gun, we are in talks with Sam's Club to send pallets of random goods to subscribers but we're still finalizing logistics of driving forklifts through residential streets.
And Then There’s Value March 19 2014
I recently spent time at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. I’m by no means a food festival veteran or expert, but what I saw and tasted was simply magical. I might even be willing to give up baseball trips in order to park myself in Marion Square for that fateful weekend each March.
As I roamed the tasting tents, visited pop-up shops and meals, and watched cooking demonstrations, I was overcome by one misused word in our culinary vocabulary:
McDonald’s and many other fast food restaurants laud their “value menu”, so named due to the fact that most items won’t run you much more than a buck. Of course, what you get for your dollar is a dollar’s worth of food: highly processed, usually unhealthy resemblances of hamburgers, biscuits, and desserts.
Contrast that with the value I saw in Charleston. Sure, the tickets are a hefty fee, but worth every dollar. The same is true when you patronize your local eatery, helmed by creative chefs making names for themselves cooking up local ingredients, in season and raised sustainably. Your checkbook may be lighter than after a meal at Burger King; but there’s better value to be had at City House.
Don’t let fast food multinationals fool you into thinking there’s a lot of value in a sawbuck’s worth of calories. Bypass the order-by-number convenience and sit awhile. Order the chef’s specialty, try something new, and bask in the value you get from $40 well spent.
Value menus only offer discounts, not value. And when it comes to food, you always get what you pay for.
At Batch, we’ve never claimed that we’re a way to get a discount on local goods. Sure, each Batch we ship is worth what you pay (usually more). For us, this is a way to discover local goods (including five new cities that are part of our Tour of the South). We stand behind each item we ship, knowing full well that you’re getting the value you pay for each bag of granola, every candle, and all the pancake mix you’d like.
All of our purveyors work hard to put value into every grain, every jar, and every sip. Their story is intwined with the product you get in our batches. There is no story when someone hands you food in a greasy sack out of a window while your engine idles.
I left Charleston with a renewed sense of Batch’s commitment to value, no matter which city we find ourselves in. And I hope you value a subscription with us. We promise to always deliver a fair or exceeding value for what you pay in both the quantity and quality of goods you receive.
Our Night at OZ March 04 2014
Here in Nashville, the first taste of spring delighted us a week or so ago (which has now given away to snow and ice). But, for a brief moment, we were reminded that this season is always so exciting, because it means newness is coming. New flowers, new life. This week I have found myself daydreaming of all things new: new beginnings, new adventures, new people doing new things. Brave new things.
Last Thursday, our friends at OZ opened their doors for the first performance in their series of Brave New Art. OZ is Nashville’s new destination for innovative, contemporary art. We can’t wait for more.
From the moment the first guests arrived until the final few shut down the bar, the halls were buzzing with excitement and anticipation. Wayne McGregor | Random Dance gave a powerful, memorable performance for the sold-out crowd of over 500. The dancers were mesmerizing. Complete with a three-dimensional, computerized light display backdrop, no detail was overlooked. FAR, the 60-minute piece, was stunning.
To welcome the cast and crew to Nashville, Batch provided custom boxes of local goods that awaited them at the hotel. The boxes were filled with local treats meant to make being on the road feel more like home. We hope that our little gesture was as welcome a treat to these talented artists as their performance was to our city.
We also had a chance to welcome those attending the show and made available for purchase local marshmallows and chocolates. And this weekend, we'll have some delicious popcorn to share. Think of us like your super-local concession stand.
Of course, if you're interested in having Batch curate welcome gifts, audience treats, or anything else for your big event, drop us a line. We're happy to do what we can to make you and your event look (and taste) great!
Hello, Southern Living Readers! February 25 2014
A big "Thanks, Y'all" is due to Southern Living for featuring us in their most recent issue.
We were featured, along with our fantastic Rise & Shine purveyors. As many of you have noticed, we offer curated Batches of five Nashville-made goods each month. We do the same for Memphis, and this summer, we're launching our Tour of the South to showcase great items from five more Southern cities (in addition to Nashville): Charleston, Atlanta, New Orleans, Birmingham, and Austin.
Batch is Going to the Chapel (and the hotel, and the restaurant, and the bridal shower...) February 24 2014
After testing and talking about the concept, we're happy to officially present Batch Weddings as a resource for local goods and a memorable experience for your big day (and the days leading up to the big day). It’s all the local goodness you already love from Batch, personalized and perfected.
For family and friends who will be visiting from far and wide, our fully customizable welcome batches are a sweet surprise to find when they arrive. Choose as many items as you like from our menu for the perfect combination.
What about a meaningful and memorable gift for your bridesmaids and groomsmen? From candles and chocolates to barbecue sauce and bloody mary mix, Batch Weddings has options that will fit any personality and budget. Looking for an extra special way to say thank you to a party host or event planner? We can do that, too.
Best of all, with any Batch Weddings order, delivery to local hotels and venues is free, and we will gladly include your custom wedding artwork or colors into the design.
Drop us a line today to find out how Batch Weddings can add that extra dose of southern hospitality.
Let's Go on Tour February 20 2014
It's time to take this show on the road.
Beginning in April and carrying on until September, Batch will be hitting the road to send you the finest goods from six Southern cities. Each month, we'll find five hand-crafted items that are beautiful and delicious, box them up, and send them your way. You'll get a taste of the South without ever packing a bag.
Here's where we're going:
- April - Nashville (gotta start at home)
- May - Charleston (you keep telling us we need to go there)
- June - Atlanta (the South's largest city makes some mighty fine delights)
- July - New Orleans (we're bringing the party to you)
- August - Birmingham (you're going to love the pride of this city)
- September - Austin (we'll see how weird we can keep it)
You can sign up and get all six cities, or subscribe by the month to get what fancies you. And if you know local makers and crafters in these cities, send them our way.
What We Make February 13 2014
From time to time here at Batch, in addition to making great subscription boxes, we also design, curate, and make products that we think you'll like. Here's a little Thursday roundup of some of the things that have begun here:
Back in November, these hand towels rolled off the screenprinting presses with an original design. They're perfect as a set in your kitchen or guest bathroom. They also work as - what else? - a thank you gift.
To launch our new Memphis subscription service, we included a fresh take on our towels, this time with a peppy morning message. If you're a morning person (or you stay up until the morning), this may be a nice reminder when you're making pancakes.
Our January Batch shipped with this locally made journal. Pocket-sized, it'll go with you anywhere this year as you set off on your great big adventure. Grab a set if you're planning on making a lot of memories this year.
They Served Fried Chicken at the Last Supper February 11 2014
I wasn’t there at that final, fateful meal in Jerusalem many years ago, but one day I’m certain archaeologists will confirm that it was, in fact, fried chicken that was served.
It’s not just that the right combination of flour, spices, and poultry combines for one of the most heavenly tastes on earth. Anyone who’s bitten into a crispy, flakey skin knows that when done right, a fried chicken breast or leg is both entree and desert. Such a combination has taken root in the south generations ago and is now the go-to main dish of Sunday dinners and Thursday suppers alike. It’s meant for tailgates and Christmases, breakfasts and picnics. It’s versatility is rivaled only by its availability to make it the centerpiece on both dining room tables and coats of arms.
We ate fried chicken the last meal I had with Ann. My grandfather’s girlfriend twenty years his junior, I’m now convinced her vivacity at 74 was due to her regular consumption of fried chicken. She’s the type who said, “I’ll just take a little bite of a leg” and then eats two legs, a wing, and a breast before asking who was ready for desert.
I didn’t know it was my last meal with her at the time. A freak fall at home put her into a coma and then a week later, she was gone. They had fried chicken after the wake and everyone said their goodbyes.
We Southerners are also tolerant of the various makers of fried chicken - both the mother who has her recipe and the fast food chain that has far less originality. This tolerance isn’t based solely on ease. Anyone who’s dares to heat up oil, bread a bird and wait and watch for that perfect shade of golden brown knows frying a chicken is anything but simple. I think we flock to fried chicken, even when handed to us in our cars out of a window, not because it’s easy.
It’s because fried chicken is about community.
Have you ever seen anyone fry a single piece of chicken? Or asked for just a solitary leg at a counter? Chicken comes in buckets and bags and bins, shoveled to you on a platter stacked a dozen or more pieces high. Some nine decades can separate those eating it in a sitting, as I saw recently when we gathered for lunch at my grandfather’s place again.
Across the table from me was my daughter, all of four years old. To my right was Granddaddy, who will be 97 next month. Aunt Judy was there, too, and so was a plate of fried chicken, carefully prepared by the fine folks at Food Giant, a local chain of grocery stores.
I like to imagine that our family wasn’t alone that day. I think other people gathered around tables, representing different generations, as they gnawed and talked, pulled and picked and caught up. Crunching and chewing, families and friends passed the platter and asked for seconds. Greasy fingertips wiped off, they then made their ways towards what I hope is becoming more of a tradition in all parts - the afternoon nap.
Fried chicken can populate our first suppers with people and our last suppers with them. We usually don’t see either coming, but when it hits us that it’s happened, we’ll look back and savor those conversations and memories, as sweet as the bread on the bird we ate, remembering that we weren’t alone.
How to Wake Up in Memphis February 06 2014
Just a few short weeks ago, we gathered up some great, local Memphis purveyors and included them in our first Batch Memphis shipment. And now, you can get in on what you missed out on (or order more if you're already in) with our Good Morning, Memphis Gift Batch.
Each Batch includes:
Heart of Eden soap
Certified Soapmaker Teresa Gregory and her family run a small farm and make products in a way that is good for you and for the environment. Their line of soaps and skin care items are free of soy and GMO ingredients so you can feel good in more ways than one.
Nourishe pancake and waffle mix
Two couples—Nicole & Cameron and Della & Richard—combined their passions for food and fitness and the result was Nourishe. Not only have they come up with a line of food that is gluten, grain and dairy free, but they did it in a way that tastes great and is effortless to make.
Reverb Coffee beans
Jeremy Harris, founder and roaster at Reverb Coffee wants to do more than offer great tasting beans. He wants to create a better future for Memphis. Infusing his product with a positive attitude and a big vision, Jeremy and Reverb are creating great coffee for a greater good.
Yippie Hippie granola
What began as a hobby - making granola at home in search of a healthy snack - has now turned into a thriving business for Malcolm and Jennifer Ervin. Using a blend of raw and cooked nuts and seeds, this granola is full of flavor without unnecessary sugars added.
How delicious does all that sound?! Get your limited edition Good Morning, Memphis Gift Batch here.
How's That New Adventure Going? February 03 2014
We're not really resolution people, so when January began, we figured going on an adventure is a lot better than making a resolution. And so, last month, we rounded up five great local products that can help anyone chase down a great big adventure.
In case you missed out, here's what we included. And, if you want this handy kit to help you chase down your big adventure (it's okay to start an adventure in February), you can get one here.
For the launch of our third in-house product, we created a handy 24-page journal that will keep you company during your personal and professional adventures this year. Just the right size with cover art that inspires, this may be your trusty sidekick all year long.
Kyle McCollom and Chris Cole set out to create the best drink mix on the planet—one full of great ingredients and great purpose. Just mix one packet of Everly with a bottle of water and shake. While you do that, Everly will be supporting rehydration efforts around the globe.
When Alex Cox and Mark Slagle wanted to make a difference, they set out to travel the country in a 1971 Winnebago. Then, it exploded (seriously) and they started making peanut butter. There’s more to it than that, but this pair cranks out high quality peanut butter mixed with organic honey. And, when they sell a packet, they donate a packet of MANA therapeutic peanut butter to kids in need.
Believing that snacking can (and must) move beyond dull flavors and boring ingredients, sisters-in-law Dawn and Liz Craig have set the standard for "artisan snackery.” Made deliberately with an eye toward the full culinary experience, Nola may become the only granola you ever want to eat.
Getting things clean doesn’t have to happen at the expense of the environment or your conscience. Deena Drummond is proof of this as her line of natural and effective detergents and cleaners gets the job done without being harmful to your skin, your clothes, or your planet.
What Making Chocolate Looks Like January 30 2014
Or, take a look below:
Meet the Purveyors: Southern Fried Design Barn December 12 2013
When it came time to think of the holidays, we thought of gift giving. And of course, when you give someone a fabulous gift, it needs a fabulous tag (or else no one knows where it came from and we can't have Santa getting all the credit).
That's why we were delighted to include some very Southern gift tags from Southern Fried Design Barn.
In our December Batch, we included a set of 10 tags from designer Amy Kinslow, who combines her own photography of landscapes and Tennessee scenes with familiar southern phrases. (For example, Henry the horse has been a part of Amy’s family for nearly 20 years.)
Amy's love for design is only rivaled by her love for the country—especially in and around middle Tennessee. She’s combined the two at Southern Fried Design Barn, creating items like notepads, greeting cards, and gift tags that have tried and true southern sayings.
Meet the Purveyors: Sweets Ndulgence December 11 2013
Cookies. We want cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.
And if they can taste like peppermint, make your taste buds do flips, and have you wanting more, all the better.
And that's why these white and dark chocolate iced, peppermint drizzled cookies from Sweets NDulgence were a great addition to our December Batch.
Nancy Overton turned her passion into her profession and now uses her skills to make homemade cookies. Creative flavor combinations and quality ingredients combine to make cookies you'll never forget.
These white and dark chocolate beauties may be your new favorite Christmas confection. Or year-round confection. We won't judge.
Meet the Purveyors: Prohibition Popcorn December 10 2013
If the cold holiday months make you think of popcorn, then what we picked our for our December Batch will blow your mind.
Prohibition Popcorn puts a clever spin on a holiday staple by infusing popcorn with a touch of whiskey. That twist, combined with great packaging, make Prohibition Popcorn something you'll crave all year long.
So it's a good thing you can get some here.
Not even the elves themselves could dream of a creation so wonderful (but we're thankful that Melanie Overby did). A handful (or several handfuls) of this popcornucopia is the best way to end a day of holiday revelry (it’s also a great way to start such a day).
Meet the Purveyors: LTR Pottery December 09 2013
Nothing says "Santa's Got a Brand New Batch" like an ornament, right? Especially a handmade one?
That's why we turned to Larry and Tracey Rogers, of LTR Pottery, to produce a memorable keepsake that would look great on your Christmas tree, bonsai tree, or family tree (as in, you could give it to someone who misses you out of state).
What began as an anniversary present has now blossomed into a full-time hobby and part-time pursuit for Larry and Tracey Rogers. This outline of our home state was just the thing our December Batch needed!
Be sure to check out LTR Pottery online for more images and ordering information for their handmade bowls, vases, ornaments, and other creations. Handmade in Kingston Springs, LTR Pottery creates elegant pieces that will stay in your family for years.
A Towel's Worth of Gratitude November 26 2013
The final ingredient for our recent Comfort Food Batch was our first in-house creation. And judging by the positive response (thanks, y'all!), we'll continue to offer one exclusive product in each monthly Batch we send. (Be on the lookout for something quite festive next week.)
To kick off our new monthly tradition, we took our Thanks Y'all artwork and had it printed on a hand towel (made in the U.S.A.). This accessory completes any kitchen, whether it hangs off your oven handle, protects table tops from warm casseroles, or cleans up spilled (local) milk.
These towels were printed in the heart of East Nashville by Life and Limb Printing Company. Each was screened by hand and treated with the utmost care before they made their way to you.
Meet the Purveyors: Southern Delights by Oakley November 21 2013
People often ask us how we find such great things to send to subscribers each month. We wish we could say we have access to some secret underworld lair of makers and bakers, but truthfully, most of them email us.
And that was the case with Lee Oakley, who has mastered the art of the pickle (if we say so ourselves) under her brand Southern Delights by Oakley.
Can a pickle capture a particular place and time? Lee Oakley believes each jar of her southern 14-day pickles captures a story from her childhood, her life as a mom, and now, her life as an entrepreneur. Using her mother’s recipe, she and her family now bottle their unique blend of spices so you can enjoy them around your dinner table, in your lunchbox, or over the kitchen sink (how you eat them is entirely up to you).
The lucky recipients of our recent "Comfort Food" Batch now know that these pickles compliment any family dinner, holiday brunch or late night craving. A blend of spices means each pickle is infused with flavor and makes your sandwich, stuffing or spread stand out. But, honestly, they are good enough to eat alone.
Meet the Purveyors: Gracey's Gourmet Cookies November 20 2013
When you think of comfort and food, your mind may immediately wander to thoughts of cookies. (Truth be told, our mind wanders there quite often, regardless of mental prompts.)
And that's why - when we were planning our recent "Comfort Food" Batch - we had to have some cookies. And if we could find some that complement the season, even better.
Enter: Gracey's Gourmet Cookies.
What do you get when you take delicious family recipes and combine them with seasonal spices? If you’re Brigitte Hohman, you get Gracey’s. Named after her grandmother and baked with love, all of her confections will delight your taste buds. If you’re looking for something homemade (but don’t want to make it in your home), Gracey’s has you covered.
Light and fluffy with just the right amount of spices, we bet you can't eat just one (but no one ate more than 12, because that was all we sent).
Meet the Purveyors: Faye's Cake Pops November 19 2013
Cake on a stick? Fashioned into a ball? Pristinely decorated?
Yes to all of the above.
And yes to everything that Faye's Cake Pops creates.
What began as a hobby blossomed into full-time work, especially after Kristy Barkley’s fourth child arrived. Made from scratch with a personal touch, these artfully-designed pops will get everyone at your office, birthday party, wedding, or fantasy-football draft talking (and coming back for more).
And that's why we were excited to include them in our recent "Comfort Food" shipment. Nothing is more comforting than cake, and if you can take the cake with you, even better. Faye's Cake Pops cranks out high quality conversation piece desserts in a variety of flavors and shapes.
Meet the Purveyors: Soberdough November 18 2013
Pour. Stir. Bake. There are no simpler directions when it comes to making a loaf of bread.
And that's why we were super excited to meet Veronica and Soberdough, her well-branded creation of beer bread mix. When we found this mix at a local market earlier this year, we couldn't wait to share it with you. And we're glad we did.
How easy is it to make this bread? Lets' say you've just come home from a long day. Your routine may be to crack open a cold one (we've been there). With Soberdough, you can pour that (local) beer into the mix and baking becomes as easy as opening your favorite brew. You’ll have a tasty loaf of bread and five beers leftover, the ingredients for a great night.
The phrase “Just Add Beer” usually appears on Spring Break shirts, but when you open a bag of Soberdough, it’s the only instructions you’ll need. The mother-and-son team (Veronica and Jordan) combined their respective passions (baking and craft beer) and came up with a handful of flavors perfect for any meal.
In fact, check out all the flavors available here.
Get Thee to the Flea November 17 2013
If you're in or around Nashville the first weekend in December (and why wouldn't you be?), then your first order of business should be to check out Porter Flea Holiday.
Nashville's third annual modern holiday market travels to Chestnut Hill on Saturday, December 7th, from 10am-6pm at the Track One Building (4th and Chestnut), 1211 4th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37210. Featuring the area's largest selection of affordable, one-of-a-kind goods from the most talented artisans, Porter Flea Holiday 2013 boasts its biggest and most diverse lineup ever, including over 30 new and local designers.
You also may recognize some tasty food purveyors that will be there. Some of these delicious items have already shown up at your doorstep; now's your chance to go and get more.
In all, Porter Flea Holiday 2013 will showcase over 85 of the region’s best designers of modern handmade apparel and accessories, home goods, furniture, jewelry, children's gifts and toys, and paper goods to satisfy all types of holiday shopping lists. Check 'em all out right here.
Don't miss the opportunity to see them all -- and to enjoy complimentary local craft beer from Jackalope Brewing Co while enjoying first crack at the season's hottest handmade gifts -- at the first-ever exclusive Preview Market on Friday, December 6th from 6-9pm. Tickets can be purchased here for this exclusive, 21+ event. And come hungry! The Grilled Cheeserie will be parked outside all night selling their legendary sandwiches and Grimey's will provide the tunes while you shop!
So if you can get out that weekend, go. And if you're stuck inside, turn off Twitter because it's all anyone will be talking about.
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