Autumn is often associated with cooler weather, pumpkins and giving thanks. It is also a great time to order Blue And Gold Sausage, just in time for the holidays. What was started out of necessity 43 years ago has become a most coveted product in the fall in Oklahoma and surrounding states.
Don Ramsey, the founder of Blue And Gold Sausage, was a high school agriculture teacher in Jones, a bedroom community northeast of Oklahoma City. Always looking for ways to fund FFA (Future Farmers of America) activities, he began making his now-famous sausage in the mid ‘60s for students to sell. The students’ families raised the pigs that Ramsey processed for the sausage.
As the word spread, more FFA chapters began selling it. Ramsey officially started the company in 1970 and then retired from teaching in 1972 to devote all of his time to the business.
A family endeavor, the day-to-day operation of the company is now supervised by Ramsey’s sons, Brett and Greg. Their mother continues to work in the office, while Don, now 84, is still involved in the operations.
Today, Blue And Gold is a household name, and it’s usually easy to find someone selling it. However, the sausage is only sold via fundraisers; it is not available for retail sale nor is it available year round.
“The busiest time of the year is from Labor Day to Thanksgiving. (This time period) accounts for 60 percent of the annual business,” says Brett Ramsey.
After that, sales taper off. From May through August the plant is closed. Once school starts again, fundraising projects resume and the plant once again bustles with activity.
While high school groups like bands and clubs account for most of the sales, other nonprofit organizations, such as little leagues, Boy Scouts and civic organizations, also benefit from Blue And Gold’s fundraising opportunities.
Since Blue And Gold produces around 60,000 pounds of sausage a day, lots of help is needed. The company is proud to employ retirees who help part-time with everything from production to shipping.
Besides sausage, Blue And Gold also makes chicken tenderloin fritters and thick sliced bacon.
Sausage, Fruit And Nut Dressing
Makes 8-10 servings
1 c. dried apples
12 oz. Blue And Gold Sausage
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
8 c. crumbled corn bread
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. dried apricots, chopped
1 2/3 c. chicken broth
1 tbsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover dried apples with warm water and let soak for three minutes, then drain well and chop. In a large skillet, crumble sausage and sauté with onion and celery until sausage is cooked through and vegetables are soft, about eight to 10 minutes. Place corn bread in a very large mixing bowl; add the apples, sausage and sautéed vegetables, pecans, apricots, 1/2-cup chicken broth, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and place dressing in a large, shallow casserole and bake for 15 minutes. Spoon remaining chicken broth over top and bake for 10 minutes more or until heated through.