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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.