Healthy Sausages, anyone?

VT 99 meets Vermont Salumi

One of the last times I visited Killdeer Market, I spotted a new maker of pork sausage.  There were a few choices; I bought a cheese sausage and a beet sausage.  The company is called VT 99 and is a joint venture featuring Pete's Greens and Jasper Hill Farm.  I am no longer surprised when I see yet another amazing Vermont edible, and there is so much from our state to spoil us.  Pete's Greens  farm is in Craftsbury and Jasper Hill Farm is in Greensboro Bend. Both farms sell their goods all around us. They have "partnered to pasture heritage breed pigs", according to this website, and are hand-making sausage at their new facility; this is what Meat In The Middle refers to on their packaging.  On this geographical note, Vermont Salumi of Plainfield (Vt.) deserves to mix in the same company.

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Sausages will always be a staple in my freezer.  They are a comforting contingency plan when I feel uninspired come dinner time as they are so versatile: put them in a bun, barbecue them and do an accompanying salad with some heated baguette, or chop them up with some sliced potatoes, tomatoes, sweet peppers and sliced onion then bake it all with olive oil and your favorite herbs!  You might also remove their delicate casings then chop up the meat and fry with some onion in olive oil to add to penne or fusili, black pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Vermont Salumi does a red wine and garlic sausage, a chorizo, an Italian with coriander, fennel and red pepper, and finally what they call a "holy trinity of pork, red wine, and rosemary." They are all great.  They also do three kinds of salami whose wrapping alone makes you want to reach for it- something reminiscent of a busy Italian macelleria, sawdust underfoot.  The fennel salami is especially intriguing.

VT 99 sausage takes the pork adventure through an equally exciting jaunt.  The cheese ones ooze melted Jasper Hill's Alpha Tolman and the beet sausage strikes me as so unique.  Lone beets do not always enjoy a popular following (especially considering their extreme stain powers) but when they are mixed into other foods, they end up enriching them to a whole other level.  If you ever thought of organizing a colour-themed dinner, these beet sausages would light up the plate.

The other point to make about Pete's Greens is that they call themselves a four-season vegetable farm.  The website is a treasure trove of recipes.  Let's take beets again, for example, there is a recipe for an apple and beet salad with mixed grains or barley and a basil vinaigrette.  In the tomato section, they have a recipe for a mini frittata with zucchini, tomatoes and goat's cheese ....I may put aside my cookbooks for a while to continue these delicious discoveries.

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