• Monte Bottens

Regenerative Gratitude

We were very happy to complete Project Oink and bring pigs back to the land in Henry County, the Hog Capital of the world. Many of you followed along with us as the pigs grew up in our timber living the life most pigs would only dream of.


It was a rush to get our first pigs harvested and their hams smoked just before Christmas. Originally, we were suppose to pick them up on the Friday a week before Christmas, but COVID struck again, and our special seasoning mix that we require (no MSG, no Nitrates/Nitrites) was delayed in shipping. Devin, the owner and our processor, adjusted the schedule for our other items and was able to get our hams into the smokehouse with no time to spare.


On late Tuesday afternoon 12/22 the hams came out of the smoker, were cut in half and vac sealed as JR was waiting to load them in our trailer to bring them home. They arrived at 6:45 PM when we sorted them and prepped them for delivery the next day. Julie and I both made the deliveries so everyone could have that special ham for their Christmas meal. It was VERY close to say the least.


We rested well knowing the mission was accomplished and very grateful that it all came together. Then, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story…


Not only do our customers make everything that we do possible, they are our biggest fans and cheerleaders. Our customers texted, emailed, and messaged these compliments out of the greatness of their hearts. We are very blessed to have such an awesome extended family to serve and feed.


“Jim and I want to thank you for producing the best ham we have ever had! We added nothing but a little water to the pan before roasting it, as I like to use the pan drippings for other recipes, and don’t want, in particular, sugary flavors introduced. My gosh, NOTHING was needed to enhance the flavor anyway! It was perfect—and don’t get me started on the wonderful texture of the meat and fat! Fabulous! Thank you again for all of your efforts in producing such wonderful food for all of us. We are wishing all of you at Grateful Graze a very happy and healthy New Year! (... Jim is on his way back into the kitchen to make another ham sandwich 😊).” Rhonda D. Davenport, IA


“Just wanted to let you know that the ham was delicious. I liked the fact that it was NOT spiral cut. It was nice and juicy and did not have an overwhelming smoked flavor. Good job! Merry Christmas.” Elena H. Davenport, IA


“Monte and team, just a quick note to tell you, the ham has been delightful! So looking forward to ham and bean soup with the bone in the freezer and my son gave a big thumbs up to the jerky. He loved it! Best wishes for the new year to all!” Claudia R. Davenport, IA


“The ham was fabulous! We have leftovers to enjoy and have the ham bone cooking on the stove for soup.” Angie V. Bettendorf, IA


“That was the best ham EVER. So delicious!!” Jennifer B. Davenport, IA


“The ham was absolutely delish!” Dawn B. Sherrard, IL


“Ham is done! So yummy!!!” Susan S. Bettendorf, IA


One of our newest customers living in the Chicago suburbs is originally from Britain, and lamb is the traditional Christmas dish.


“Sir... your lamb is amazing. Really amazing. Happy Christmas.” William L. Geneva, IL



We delivered ten hams for Christmas, AND we heard from 7 you! How many companies hear positive and encouraging feedback from 70% of their customers?


Yes, we have to do things right in order to get the feedback, but my point is OUR CUSTOMERS ARE AMAZING!!!! With everything going on during Christmas, to take the time to send us a note without asking is absolutely unheard of.


We are grateful for the life in the soil that prospers living plants which prosper living animals that prosper people. We started Grateful Graze as a way to bring livestock back to the land to regenerate our soils, plants, animals, people, communities and our planet. One of the unintended benefits of what we are doing is that our customers are regenerating people’s spirits with gratitude. Thank you all.


Monte


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Grateful Graze

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19065 IL - Hwy 81
Cambridge, IL 61238

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