Farmers Market Favorite | Fresh Pork Sausage & Smothered Greens 2 Ways | Market Chef Maggie Perkins

We celebrated St Patrick’s Day at the markets this weekend and found it so easy to do since everything is SO SPRING GREEN right now in farmers’ stalls. Whether or not the weather gets the memo, Mother Nature has let us know with no lack of certainty that spring has sprung in the farms and fields of Central Texas.

If it’s still a bit blustery in your neck of the woods, let us be encouragers down south, and see what promises to show up at your seasonal markets within weeks.

Below, find the farmers and vendors of the Texas Farmers’ Markets produce and products, however if you’re not lucky enough to live in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas, no worries. Let this serve as a guideline to find producers in your area, or perhaps follow the links to find mail order options.

If you do live close, stop by the markets’ chef demos next weekend, March 24 and 25, and let’s dish about the best, most delicious way to prepare the seasonal ingredients you’ll find gracing your market basket.

At the Lakeline market on Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day informed my choices, and I was instantly inspired by a beautiful head of cabbage from Flintrock Hill Farm. I stopped by Smith & Smith Farms who were serving 2 lines of loyal customers 5 people deep, and eagerly accepted the fresh pork sausage with cabbage they suggested, just after I stopped to chat with the charming Gray Gardens’ farmer, gathering the prettiest purple-bulbed scallions and fresh, sweet bagged spinach. I petted pups, smelled flowers, hugged farmers, admired eggs and jewelry and tried on natural lip gloss on the way back to the Sample the Market tent, where I borrowed Pogue Mahone’s stone ground mustard and Round Rock Honey’s bourbon reserve honey right off of the table. Just as I pondered how I’d season my bounty, the youngest Hill Country Salts salesman stopped by to issue an invitation. “Mom says come pick out a salt,” an offer I’d never refuse! Chefs and cooks everywhere need to know about these spice and wine-infused salts, and I chose the Bavarian flavors of their Gerwurzsalz for the day’s dish.

Morning was a’wasting so it was time to get down to business……

(Pork &) Cabbage on Cabbage
Serves 4

1 package Smith & Smith Farms fresh Pork & Cabbage sausage
2 tablespoons water, or beer if desired
1 bunch Gray Gardens scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon Pogue Mahone stone ground Dill Pickle mustard
1 tablespoon Round Rock Honey, Reserve Bourbon Barrel honey
2 tablespoons water, or beer if desired

1 head Flintrock Hill Farm cabbage, shredded

1 bag Gray Gardens fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Hill Country Salt Gerwurzsalz seasoning salt, to taste

In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausages, turning to brown on all sides. Add water as necessary to avoid sticking. Remove from skillet and reserve.

Add scallions to pan, sauteing until limp. Stir in mustard and honey, mixing well. Add cabbage and spinach, folding to coat with dressing. Add water, or beer if using. Cook down, covering greens are wilted below surface of the skillet. Steam until fully limp.

Nestle sausages into greens. Cover and steam until sausages have warmed. Serve.

The following market day at TFM Mueller, I adjusted the recipe to reflect the vendor product and farmer produce available on Sunday.

Fresh Pork Links & Smothered Collard Greens
Serves 4

The following market day at TFM Mueller, I adjusted the recipe to reflect the vendor product and farmer produce available on Sunday.

1 package Smith & Smith Farms fresh Pork & Cabbage sausage
2 tablespoons SoCo Ginger Beer, original
1 bunch Gray Gardens scallions, sliced
1 bunch Gray Gardens young garlic, greens minced (whites reserved for another use)
2 bunches JBG Organic young collard greens, sliced
1 bag Gray Gardens baby spinach
1/8 cup SoCo Ginger Beer, original
Hill Country Salt Midori Fi seasoning salt, to taste
Byccombe Farm arugula lettuce flowers, to garnish

In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausages, turning to brown on all sides. Add ginger beer as necessary to avoid sticking. Remove from skillet and reserve.

Add scallions and young garlic greens to pan. Saute in sausage drippings until limp. Add collard greens, spinach and ginger beer to pan. Stirring occasionally, allow greens to become tender and limp. Season to taste with seasoning salt. Return sausage and nestle into greens, reduce heat to low and cover. Heat until warmed through. Garnish with arugula flowers.

Not just for St. Patrick’s Day, my healthy eating goal is to keep it green every day of the week. While some greens like kale and chard are available year-round in most temperate climates, be certain to take advantage of the cooler temps of Spring, before it gets too blazing hot (!), to eat collard greens, mustard greens, cabbages and lettuces while they are crisp and sweet and their herbal-ly best. As soon as temps start climbing, you’ll find field grown greens become bitter, and bolt, going to seed to start the cycle a’new.

To learn more about the vegetables in season and the best way to prepare them, check out my monthly guide, The Seasonal Plate | March, and come on out to the Texas Farmers’ Markets next weekend, March 24 & 25, for a taste of the best the month has to offer.

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