FEW could know more about sausages than Conondale's Paul Preston, who quit school in Year 10 to become a butcher.
The passionate 50-year-old foodie is making his mark on the south-east Queensland market scene with his Saintsational Sausages.
He has developed more than 40 flavours of sausage, working night and day to make 400kg of gourmet, gluten-free product every week for markets in Rocklea and on the Coast.
Working his magic from his small factory in Maleny, Mr Preston combines fresh herbs and spices, vegetables and fruits with beef, pork, chicken and lamb.
His combinations - including chicken, honey and macadamia; and pork, coriander and lime - have proved a big hit with customers.
Mr Preston, who started making his Saintsational Sausages four years ago, said every flavour had been developed after he saw, heard of or tasted foods that could potentially be applied to a sausage.
"Chicken and chocolate is one of the more unusual ones I've created," he said.
"I've come to call it The Collingwood because you either love it or you hate it.
"A lot of flavours come from seeing things on TV or hearing something, and then I usually play around with it."
Mr Preston said his business had survived through the economic crisis because of his point of difference in the market and the way he sold his products.
"Even through the hard economic times, people are willing to pay for quality," he said.
"Rather than opening up a butcher, the markets really work for me because the sausages are all fresh and I get that personal contact with customers.
"It's all about getting to know people and what they want."
Mr Preston's sausages are available at the Town and Country markets on Fridays from 10.30am-4pm, Rocklea Markets on Saturdays, 6am-noon and the Maleny Markets on Sunday, 8am-2pm.