Reub's journey

07 November 2011


We hadn't planned on going to Verboort, Oregon, site of the 77th annual Sausage and Sauerkraut Community Dinner. With the somewhat ominous motto of "Always the first Saturday of November," we were  told that the event would cause a traffic nightmare, and we might have trouble getting to our destination.

Photo from

But we were on our way to Verboort anyway, because we had  to meet up with a truck load of beef from Eastern Oregon's Carman Ranch. On the left is 4th generation, smart and gorgeous rancher, Cory Carman, whose sustainable,  grass-fed beef is something we want to support. It's worth it to go out of our way to buy beef from her place, even if it means driving our 18-year-old pick-up  a couple of hours north and through the  possibly impassable main street of Verboort, OR.

But wait...did somebody say "Sauerkraut and Sausage?" John and I are from the mid-west, raised on sausage. It was lunch time, about 12:30,  and we didn't have to be at Sun Gold Farm until 2:00 PM, so we decided to swing by and check it out. You know, pick up something fun, quick and easy.

Well, shoot, that's not how it works. They were serving 1400 people at the moment and our tickets were numbers 2200-2201, which  meant that lunch's estimated time of arrival was 2:30PM. As an added bonus the ticket sellers assured us that there was "plenty to do while we waited." We looked at each other pondering the variables. Could we hold off that long? How bad did we want this? And what were those things we might do if we waited?

 It turned out, of course, that I wanted it really badly. Perfect timing, really. 

 The whole sausage festival revolved around the church (Visitation Catholic Church),  its little school, and the fact that this is a 100% Dutch community, dating from the 1870's. There were sweet, elderly nuns selling crucifixes and rosary beads in this lovely little brick church, but it wasn't right to photograph them.

The school: it has about 115 students, and a highly-respected science department. The music teacher also teaches P.E. (sounds like fun).  It's dependent on the All-U-Can-Eat-Sauerkraut-and-Sausage  festival.

 People waiting for their lunch were in the gym, where there was lots of stuff going on.

 I almost bought a potholder for one dollar, but then I didn't.

A. We don't need any more potholders.
                     B. I was not attracted to any of the prizes, and I was afraid I might win something.

 However, damn. Wish I'd forked up 7 bucks to buy a beautiful little arrangement of fudge and candy. This is a regret.

 I did buy $3.00 worth of home-made sauerkraut, and 2 adorable little squash.

There was a school bus shuttle service if you wanted to go to the beer tent at the Rod & Gun Club, a mile or two away. (No beer served at the festival site, though,  because it was a church.) This seemed to be very popular.

Lots of people hopped that bus to have a beer, but we had to skip out and find Sun Glow Farm, which wasn't easy at all.  The Google map and John's iPhone were no help whatsoever. We stopped at 3 different places to get directions, but nobody was home; they were all volunteering at the sausage fest.  We did have a good look at some of the cabbage fields that produced all of that sauerkraut.

Eventually we did find Sun Glow Farm, and got our beef. This lady was the owner, and she said that her grandmother had started the sausage festival 77 years ago, her grandfather had "shot the first pig for it," and that she was one of four people in possession of the secret sausage recipe, which she said, has "all of 4 ingredients in it."

I was completely enchanted.

 While I was being charmed, her cats were all over the box of free dog bones.

Which was kinda gross, but also why I must include an extra picture.

Maybe this should have dulled our appetites, but it didn't.

 We managed to get back by 2:00,  just in front of this huge crowd stepping off of the school bus from the Rod & Gun Club, back from multiple Bud Lites.

 The wait in line was pretty short, and there were a few fun displays to look at, including this drum. I like drums like this.

 When we were seated, big dishes of hot food were brought to our tables, and it was super fun talking to the people around us.

The young volunteers serving us were polite and efficient.

They serve up 17 tons of freshly smoked sausage to over 8,000 diners.  There is nothing better than rambling around and stumbling upon something like this.

This is a 49 second video in which you can hear the music being blasted from the church speakers while I admired the giant sequoias (planted when the first citizens stumbled back from the Gold Rush in 1849, with redwood seeds in their pockets.)  It reminds me, a little,  of my favorite movie, Groundhog Day. 
Awesome day.


  1. Thanks for sharing your day. I probably would not have waited. But maybe if I was carrying my camera, I might have done what you did. Wonderful documentary.

  2. oh, this reminds me so much of home! Wis serves plenty of brats (which i dislike!) but LOVE polish sausage and kraut! and the polka music is right along with it!

  3. B&B: Well, luckily as the ticket seller said, there was lots of stuff to do while we waited. Not the least of which was getting lost when we went out to pick up the beef.

    twg: This was like rural Wisconsin, through and through!

  4. Who would have thought you'd find something like this outside of Wisconsin?!!I can smell the kraut!!!

  5. Strange, I just made sauerkraut yesterday.

    I do now desperately want some of that grass fed beef.

  6. looks like a fun day. but, that looks like broccoli to me in that field.

  7. Merry: Turns out you can find sauerkraut&sausage affairs in the most unlikely places!

    Laoch: Oh man, it is such good beef. I just fixed a roast & it was so lean and tender at the same time. Just excellent. I have read that grass-fed beef is healthier than grain-fed, too.

    Ellen: I was hoping nobody would notice, but yeah that's broccoli...we had just passed the cabbage field!

  8. Yes, the lipid profile of grass fed beef is similar to that of salmon.

  9. That looks like an awesome day! Yum! A sausage festival! But I dont know if I could wait that long. :)Omg, I want some now!

  10. Well worth the wait, it appears. I love that you buy responsible beef, eat saur kraut and purposely avoid buying potholders for fear of winning a prize.

  11. Laoch: You'll be pleased to know that John checked this, and YES, you are right. I celebrated by thawing some ground beef & making meatballs.

    GG: I understand this kraut-craving all too well.

    Kady:Haha! This could be my new profile: "I am responsible about beef, eat kraut, and fear winning potholder prizes!" all true.


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