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Cooks rise early to serve 5,000
Times photos: Brian Gray ABOVE: Ethan Pfeuti, 12, Albany, left, and Mark Riedel, Albany, turn sausages Saturday at the Green County Breakfast on the Farm at Brugger Dairy. About 1,300 pounds of sausage were cooked for the anticipated 5,000 guests.
MONROE - Before the sun came up Saturday, 450 sausages were already cooked and ready for the roasters and for the expected crowds at the Green County Breakfast on the Farm.

Darrel King and Bob Derendinger, both from Brodhead, cut the sausage links for the griddle. They were the first step in the sausage preparation process.

"We wouldn't be here if we didn't like doing this," Bob laughed.

It was up to several cooks to keep the sausages turned so they wouldn't burn.

Each year volunteers show up before dawn to prepare the food for the yearly breakfast. They get an early start because the first of about 5,000 visitors being to show up for breakfast by 6 a.m.

Actually, they start to show up at the farm before 6 a.m.

Volunteers arrived by 4 a.m. at Brugger Dairy on Rechsteiner Road to make breakfast.

The job of King and Derendinger was to keep cooking until the breakfast ended at 10 a.m.

Once it was cooked they put the links in a roaster to keep them warm and then started the process all over again.

People who arrived could smell the sausage as they walked up the drive. A few took deep breaths and commented on how good breakfast smelled.

The people who made the scrambled eggs might have had the most difficult job at the breakfast. The key was to keep moving the eggs to prevent them from burning, Green County Circuit Court Judge James Beer said.

The scrambled eggs department might have been the most politically powerful area of the tent as both Beer and Rep. Brett Davis, R-Oregon, helped cook. This was the first time Davis made eggs at the breakfast.

"I guess I got promoted," he joked.

Everyone had a different job to do, but that's one of the reasons the breakfast runs smoothly, Wayne Monte, Albany, said.

Monte has helped at the breakfast for about 20 years.

"The farmers might get overwhelmed and think they have to do a lot but they really don't," he said. "

The cooks, the servers, the people who set up and take down the tents and the people who help in countless other ways have been involved with the breakfast for many years.

"Most of the work is done by the ag chest and volunteers," Monte said.

By 5:30 a.m. the crowds began to gather and line up at the tent to buy their tickets. By 5:45 a.m. the first guests had already gone through the serving line.

Leo and Marcia Thomann, Albany, were early guests.

"I wanted to be here before six," Leo said. "This is really the best time to come. It's not crowded yet."

They've come to almost every breakfast, he added. It's a yearly tradition.

"The breakfast is good again this year," he said.

It was a sentiment to make the volunteers smile. They had done their jobs well.