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Legacy of Green’s Sausage House lives on

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Steve Pettit | Herald

Charles, left, and Marvin Green operate Green’s Sausage House, located 10 miles east of Temple in Zabcikville.

Updated

In 1946, a young Central Texas couple, Della and Jerome Green, took a leap of faith and bought a small grocery store on the public road 10 miles east of Temple. They worked hard at their business, added a line of homemade sausage, were devout members of St. Joseph Catholic Church, and raised a family of two sons and four daughters.

Sixty-seven years later, those sons, Charles and Marvin, continue the legacy at Green’s Sausage House on Highway 53 in Zabcikville. The ranch-style building is across the street from the original location, Charles Green said.

“Dad needed more room, and there was a cafe across the road. He bought it in 1960 and we moved everything over here.”

And by “everything,” Green includes a cafe, bakery, meat market as well as 24-hour drop-off deer processing. The businesses operate six days a week (closed on Sundays), open at 7 a.m. and have an enthusiastic and verbal customer base.

“We come here all the time,” said Ronnie Lyons.

His wife, Edna, chimed in: “Since the 1970s we’ve made a trip at least once a month to Green’s. We live about 35 miles away, in Milano, but we’ve got to stock up on sausage and cheese.”

The store’s front door opens into a room with worn but clean hardwood floors; shelves fully stocked with staples as well as Texas-made gourmet goodies, homemade soap from Georgetown, honey products from nearby Walker Honey Farm and some of Green’s private label goods.

Green’s Hoppin’ Frog Jam made from figs, red raspberries and jalapeños is one of customer Brice Hendrick’s favorites.

“There’s nothing else like it, really,” he said. “Their sauerkraut is great, too.”

A from-scratch bakery on the premises prepares Danish pastry, cinnamon rolls, bread and a Central Texas Czech requisite: kolaches. A palate-perplexing 19 varieties are listed on the menu. Cookies, cakes and puddings are among the offerings baked fresh each day.

“You need to get here early,” Hendrick said, “or the kolaches will be sold out.”

Arguably the heart of the business, Green’s meat market is the store’s top revenue-generator. The nine types of bacon and half-dozen or so cheeses are only a prelude for the big show: almost any kind of sausage imaginable. The vast refrigerated glass case displays a bewildering choice of links, wieners, wursts and smokies.

“We’ve added new things, but were always careful about quality,” Marvin Green said. “From 12 sausage varieties in 1984, we’ve gone to 22 now.” Charles emphasized the importance of quality: “You’ve got to keep quality up,” he said. “We have employees that have been with us for 25 years, we listen to customer requests — and we were fortunate that we were able to inherit a business with an excellent reputation.”

Behind the separate restaurant and store, the operation reveals its true scale: many more square feet than it appears from the road. The bakery, meat prep and processing areas stretch out in back of the building. “We’ve added on several times,” Charles said. Four room-size smoking units shoulder the meat-smoking duties. “All four will be running at busy times,” he said.

The scope of Green’s activities keep 18 full-time and four part-time employees fully engaged. Both brothers remember their own humble beginnings — working for their dad.

“We grew up here,” Marvin said. “And my first job was straightening soda bottles,” Charles added.

It looks as if a third generation of the Green family may be poised to continue Della and Jerome’s legacy. Chad Green, their grandson, started at the bottom and is now taking on management duties.

4 images

Steve Pettit | Herald

Charles, left, and Marvin Green operate Green’s Sausage House, located 10 miles east of Temple in Zabcikville.