— O'tillie —
O'tillie Pork & Pantry is a local meat shop focused entirely on local food production with a strong initial emphasis on pork products and preserved items. The heart of the operation is our focus on promoting and educating our customers on local food production and its importance to rebuild our connection to food and rejuvenate the health of our environment at the local level. We focus entirely on whole animal butchery encouraging and opening up the conversation about sustainable food consumption. We work directly with local farmers and producers that share the same values and are in service to the land. We strive to bridge the gap between farmer and consumer and bring locally-raised products to consumer, direct from the farmer, in the small-scale.
To build a healthier environment through the promotion of local food using simple preservation techniques and whole animal butchery.
— myself —
I grew up the son of a second generation farmer and grandson of a butcher on a large family farm just outside of Norfolk, Nebraska. From a very young age I helped pick crops, take care of the animals and often times snuck away to catch fish at the pond or found myself stuck in a tree somewhere. I am very fortunate to have been born into an agrarian way of life and spent my childhood surrounded entirely by nature.
I earned a degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Hospitality Management further committing myself to the industry. Jobs throughout college as a server and baker only helped to assure this was exactly the field I saw myself in. After graduating college I went on to spend some time at the Country Club of Lincoln where I served as Bar Manager and began to develop a strong interest in the world of imbibing. It was from here I would leave the Midwest to further explore the food system on the West Coast in Portland, Oregon.
My time spent in Oregon was one of self-reflection and exploration to find exactly what my role was meant to be within this entire system as a whole. I spent my time behind the bar at Raven & Rose, a LEED-certified British Isles inspired restaurant passionate about local food, unmatched service levels and a brilliantly curated wine and cocktail menu. I strengthened my relationship with the land in the fields of Fiddlehead Farms, a small scale organic vegetable farm. I learned the art of fermentation and developed a better understanding of the importance of timing, patience and persistence in the warehouse of Owen Roe Winery. Finally, it was in the shop at Proletariat Butchery where I discovered my true passion learning whole animal butchery and old world preservation techniques.
In January of 2017, the idea for O’tillie was born from a long phone call between old friends separated by thousands of miles and nearly seven hours of time difference. It was during one of our monthly catch-up chats that my dear friend Jakob Köster proposed the idea of me starting my own shop. I believe he had grown tired of hearing me always talking of how much I love what I do and how great it would be one day give back by starting a company built on my love for the food system. The minute I put the phone down it was off to work and we formed O’tillie, LLC. by the end of April 2017. It has been with the support of my family, my partner Jakob, my loving fiance Cassie and the entire Grenemeier family that I am able to do what I do today and for that I am very thankful. For me, to understand nature is to understand a perfectly symbiotic relationship. While each individual part of nature has its own important purpose it is the connection between all parts that is most vital. This is how I view my mission within the food system.