Meghan Pohl and Jessica Brewster are two friends that had their own distinct entrepreneurial dreams. Jessica wanted to “create unique, small batch food” and Meghan “wanted a retail store that focused on unique plants and gifts that were handmade.” After many social events, casual conversations, a baby shower, and one Facebook message, Batch was born; a business that sells jams, jelly, soups, bread, quiche, and a variety of gift items like soaps, jewelry, pottery, and plants.
“We wanted to cook food that our parents and grandparents taught us to make. Both Jess and I (Meghan) were raised in the kitchen and garden. Our families harvested what they grew and loved to entertain. So the jams and jelly came naturally, [they] tie into our roots. Then soups are the same way; Jess grew up with her mom and aunt cooking a huge pot of soup for all the family.“
Batch began as a vendor at the Market Square Farmers Market and the Bloomfield Market in 2014. After only two months of cooking at a local church and selling jam on their days off, the business found a Saxonburg storefront and went full time. Some of their most popular items include the Black Blue and Bourbon Jam as well as their Wedding Soup and Super Soup. Jessica Brewster is the chef and baker behind this fresh and homegrown menu.
Batch’s motto has always been “Handmade & Homegrown”. This involves creating all of their jams from locally grown or homegrown produce. All of their produce is then processed and frozen as much as possible when in season. Meghan says “[we] just used the last of last years strawberries a couple of weeks ago and we still have peaches in the freezer. We usually go and get the “seconds”: all the bruised and ugly fruit.” This is fruit that is in perfectly good condition, but usually unsellable in stores due to its appearance.
By knowing where their produce is sourced, Batch is able to make everything naturally and chemically free. All of the jams are gluten-free and vegetarian, which is also the case with the majority of their soups. This also provides help for other local small businesses while providing green alternatives for waste. Deposits are offered on returned jars, non-meat scraps are provided to a local pig farmer, and compostable to-go containers are made available to customers.
Meghan and Jess say that the best part about running their locally based business is:
“Meeting all these amazing people who create and grow just like we do. It’s like we are all one big family working together and making each other better by using each other’s products and supporting each other. And we love being part of a small community in Saxonburg, we have such an amazing support system of regular customers and have met some amazing people on this journey… Working all local and within your community is pretty awesome.”
If you want to support local business and try some of Meghan and Jess’s unique products but think the 35-mile trek to Saxonburg is a little far, you can find them and thier wares at the Market Square Farmer’s Market on Thursdays and many of their jams can be found at Olive & Marlowe in East Liberty.