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Saxonburg's Batch creates artisan jams, jellies

| Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, 8:50 p.m.
Jessica Brewster (left) and Meghan Pohl are co-owners of Batch in Saxonburg.
Meghan Pohl puts out some freshly baked bread at Batch in Saxonburg while Jessica Brewster cooks in the background.
The sweet onion jam from Batch was was selected as a menu item by Oakmont Country Club for the 2016 U.S. Open next year.

Exciting things are stirring at Batch in Saxonburg.

Jam, jellies and homemade soups are prepared daily as customers clamor for the homemade goodness that abounds at the specialty store.

Ducking into Batch on West Main Street is like popping into Grandma's house — but, instead of Granny greeting you, there are best friends and owners Jessica Brewster and Meghan Pohl.

The two women share one creative dream — to have their own business creating artisan jams and jellies along with specialty baked goods. Batch prides itself on offering homemade and homegrown local gourmet creations using locally sourced ingredients.

“We are all about a ‘fresh' take on food,” Brewster says. “We try not to use any artificial ingredients and strive to source locally, because we feel fresh is best. We make everything homemade and in small batches — hence, the name.”

The facade is neat as a pin, nostalgic and preppy, and, once inside, the aromas hit you: fresh herbs, spices, bread baking and hot jam cooking on the stove.

Batch invites customers to step outside their usual strawberry-jam mode.

“We have some flavors like Black, Blue and Bourbon, Monkey Butter, Ruby Spice (grapefruit and jalapeno), Peach Bellini, Liquid Gold, and we created all of the recipes ourselves,” says Pohl, a native of Saxonburg who lives in Natrona Heights.

Batch's 15 interesting flavors of jams and jellies include Carrot Cake, Garlic and Hot Pepper and Sweet Onion.

The Sweet Onion Jam recently was selected as a featured food item by Oakmont Country Club for the 2016 U.S. Open.

“This is amazing news for us,” says Brewster, a Butler resident. “We were noticed at a Market Square Farmers Market booth by a caterer from the U.S. Open that was looking for locally made jams and jellies and contacted us. This is our first big event for Batch.”

The self-proclaimed “jam junkies” handle every business detail and are excited to celebrate their first anniversary Nov. 28, coincidentally on Small Business Saturday.

“We always had a vision of a store that not only carried our small-batch creations but other people's handiwork,” Pohl says.

What began as a little cooking project in Pohl's church kitchen has evolved into their first business venture that was inspired by the way their moms and grandparents cooked.

“We both grew up in households where the kitchen was the heart of the family,” Pohl says.

Daily soups are prepared and stored in large mason jars. Customers are encouraged to return the soup mason jars for 50 cents off the next purchase.

Soup flavors such as creamy cheese cauliflower, Italian sausage, green bean, ham and potato, cream of mushroom, corn chowder, sweet chicken and rice and more tempt the palate with homemade, hearty goodness. Their made-from-scratch quiche features ingredients such as crab, asparagus, three-cheese herb, apple chicken sausage and Canadian bacon and cheddar.

Wine jellies are popular, with flavors such as zinfandel with raspberries, cabernet and pinot grigio with rosemary. Made using real wine, the alcohol content cooks down to a barely traceable amount.

Peruse the quaint shop for homemade aprons, dish towels, knit hats and cowls, handmade soaps, pillows, jewelry and, of course, their array of jams and jellies. The menu changes daily and offers a constant variety.

“We never want our customers to get bored with our product,” Pohl says. “Our customers keep coming back because we have daily varieties.”

Batch is proud to be a part of the Saxonburg small-business lineup.

“We have the best customers and love how supportive this town is. We are living the dream,” Brewster says.

Joyce Hanz is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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