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January 29, 2014

What We Love About Memphis

After two great trips to Memphis (the most recent of which culminated with our first Batch Memphis shipment), our team has found a lot to love about the city. And with a culinary roundup like this, we look forward to many more visits as we ship great Memphis goods around the U.S.

Eats:

  • Hog and Hominy was at the top of our list. Fresh food and creative cocktails fill the menu, while friendly, quick, and helpful service make you feel at home. If you're in Bluff City, make sure you stop in for dinner.
  • After a full day of packing, our team fueled up at Germantown Commissary. For comfort food that can get you through a long day (or any day), a quick stop here will hit the spot.
  • During a long day of meetings and introductions (thanks to our awesome friends at the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce), we made a lunch stop at Alcenias, which is one of the smartest decisions we've made in years. What is the best fried chicken we've ever had was only topped by the kindness and warmth coming from the kitchen, courtesy of BJ and her team.
  • We were also introduced to Lunchbox Eats on one trip. A clever school cafeteria theme is a great backdrop for food that is way better than what you had back in your elementary days.

Drinks:

  • When we announced our launch into Memphis, we rounded up local makers and creators for a drink at Local Gastropub. They have food, too, which we hear is awesome. 
  • We ended the night once in what has to be the world's largest living room over at the Peabody Hotel. Sitting in the middle of such an iconic Memphis institution made the nightcaps taste even better.
  • Stopping in more than once, Otherlands Coffee Bar has served as a great meeting place and caffeine supplier. Spacious and easy to get to, this is our office away from our office.

So what about the great goods and makers we've found? Patience, my friend. Next week, we'll unveil who was in our first Memphis Batch, as well as how you can get your hands on some of their delightful creations.

(And, our next trip and shipping date coincides with a Grizzlies game. We hear that's where the action is.)

January 28, 2014

Riding the Wave of Local

There seems to be a swelling sense of pride that I'm noticing as I travel. There's a pride of place that can't be mistaken. If "wherever you go then there you are", it's clear to me that a lot of people are happy to be where they're standing. They're so happy, in fact, that they want to bottle (or box, in our case), what they're experiencing in order to draw upon this pride whenever they wish.

This sense of place comes down to one word that America has prized for generations: local.

If it's made here, baked here, put together here, dreamed up here, started here, grown here, shared here, sold here, or birthed here, then you can find a group here that wants to get it out to the world.

This love of local isn't limited to the two cities where Batch has taken root: Nashville and Memphis. I've seen it in Birmingham and Richmond, Louisville and Fort Worth, Chattanooga and Atlanta. We're a proud people, eager to brag on neighbors and friends who spend hours in a kitchen or a field coming up with something remarkable. 

We're about to hit our six-month mark here and each Batch we curate has a distinct sense of place behind it. But we're finding that we're shipping more than food or candles or towels; we're shipping culture. 

And because the notion of local is so deeply embedded in our culture, we're certain this pride of place isn't merely a wave, meant to be ridden until you crash desperately into the shore only to pick yourself up and hope for another. That's the folly of trend-chasing. 

What we're finding is an entire ocean that our forebears have been swimming in for ages. Our grandparents and their grandparents pitched tents and built cabins, planted seeds and grew family trees so that they could say they were from somewhere. 

Even with the advent of social media and digital tools that can take you anywhere in an instant we've still got a place where we're from that we believe in and that we're proud of. That place is deep within us and here to stay.

So at Batch, we're about local. We're about place. But deeper than that, longer lasting than a trend, is being about a culture. And this culture produces a pride in our purveyors and customers that we're happy to watch happen.