Every Thanksgiving, my family descends on my house for the traditional feast. I do the turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. And other family members bring appetizers, wine, salads, potatoes, side dishes and dessert - usually my sister Joan's sinfully delicious pecan and pumpkin pies.
And each year, my search for the perfect turkey brings me to Maple Lawn Farms in Fulton, Maryland, about 30 miles east of Washington off Route 29.
The farm was started by a guy named Henry Iager back in 1839. It is now run by the fifth generation of his successors. Today, the Iagers raise turkeys and Holstein cattle.
Over the years, they've sold off parts of their acreage for a large school complex and shopping center - you can see them in the background. And every year I make this pilgrimage, there's a nagging fear that by the next year it will be a townhouse complex.
So, why drive all these miles for a turkey?
These are not your typical Butterballs from the supermarket. These guys had a wonderful life scratching around a barnyard, foraging for worms when they didn't feel like eating the organic turkey chow concocted by the staff PHd turkey nutritionist. The toms and hens cavorted with each other and made baby turkeys the way nature intended for it to happen. They didn't shoot up drugs or eat junk food. These were happy birds!
But what's this? As I stepped out of my car and looked down, I saw a giant turkey feather.
Then I looked around and there were lot more feathers on the ground. A whole lot more. I was reminded that these guys were running around the barnyard just this morning! And then, WHACK! My sister tell me the Iagers feed these guys a little Grey Goose before the round up so at least they go down happy. I hope so.
I went inside feeling a little bit queazy, but they had some spiced cider and molassas cookies to make me feel better while I waited in line for my bird, a 19-pound hen.
I'm sure she'll taste absolutely wonderful. Every bird I've every gotten from Maple Lawn has been perfect - quite a feat in that I am far from the perfect cook. Right now, I rooting around the kitchen drawers to try to find directions on how to use my fancy convection oven so I don't have to get up at four in the morning to get her in the oven.
Notice, it becomes "her". Not "it". If she came from Safeway, I wouldn't be having these thoughts right now!
So, to all of my friends on Active Rain, have a wonderful holiday, full of good food and lots of love!