I am not a rich woman, but I have learned something this year. I will pay extra money for excellence. It started with West Wind Farms at the Franklin Farmer’s Market. I discovered Ralph Cole’s hot sage sausage. I am sorry, Jimmy Dean (rest in peace, of course), but you will have to move to the end of the line. Ralph’s sausage is expensive – eight dollars for four large links – but once you taste it you will never go back.
Tonight, I was reminded once again why it is important to support artisan producers who know how their animals were raised and treat them with the utmost respect. I speak of Kevin Ouzts’ ambrosial spiced lamb and pork crepinettes. I first ran into Kevin amid the most profound sadness. I had just been to visit Terrell for the last time and decided to stop at the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market on my way home. Kevin owns The Spotted Trotter and sold me some of the divine crepinettes, this dense delicious sausage wrapped in caul fat. They made me very happy and I needed that.
So, through a friend, I arranged to have some more crepinettes delivered to Brentwood. We had them tonight for supper. I can honestly tell you that one bite of them is worth ten pounds of Jimmy Dean.
So here’s the thing. Times are tough. It’s tempting to go to that big box place with the extremely unhappy greeters and buy meat that was raised in pens and never saw a blade of grass. But while we are struggling, our artisan producers – those people who live on a shoestring and make nary a dime off of what they produce – are dedicated to raising animals humanely and producing ethereal products that honor them.
Go to a farmer’s market this weekend and give them a try. You will also feel honored. And Kevin, you get your USDA certification or whatever the hell certificate you need to ship across state lines. I need that sausage. And Ralph, thank goodness you live within Tennessee state lines because I cannot do without you, my man.
Vote with your pocketbook, however meager it may be, for excellence. There’s so little out there these days.