Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


Getting Uncomfortably Close to the Food Chain!

 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!   



Comment balloon 34 commentsPatricia Kennedy • November 22 2007 04:33PM


LOL thanks Patricia, I'm making pralines and taking a break. Turkeys have to come from somewhere and what better place than near you :) Have a good one !
Posted by Keith Perry, REALTOR - West Metro Atlanta (Coldwell Banker) over 12 years ago

Patricia - I love the look on the woman's face in the background! LOL   She really LOVES her job!

You have  great Thanksgiving! That's big bird you're cooking.

Posted by Linda Scanlan (A Fan of AR) over 12 years ago
Patricia - This is an interesting post.  My wife has never had a problem with eating turkey because she once saw a turkey lay an egg that broke on the pavement.  She figures if they are that dumb, they deserve to be eaten.
Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 12 years ago


Happy Thanksgiving...we cook ours in a rotisserie...cooks quickly and stays delectably juicy...awesome!!! Thanks,   Fran

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) over 12 years ago
Pat,  I always get a fresh turkey too. Happy Thanksgiving, Pat
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 12 years ago

I could never eat an animal I personally new - I am still in denial about the whole cow=steak!

Posted by Rebecca Savitski, NC Real Estate Listings (BSR Real Estate Group) over 12 years ago
Pat, I don't get a fresh turkey but cook it in a brown paper bag, my brother in-laws recipe and it always turns out perfect.
Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) over 12 years ago
You lost me at pecan pie! I can't remember the last time I had one those are delicious year round!
Posted by Todd and Danielle Millar, Sixteen years of excellence! (Glenn Simon Inc.) over 12 years ago


These are gorgeous. They look like they lived the good life. Give them your culinary best and let go of the guilt. 

Posted by Susan Peters, The Better it Looks the Better it Sells (Dove Realty Inc.) over 12 years ago
I agree with Linda...I noticed the look on the woman's face in the background...really LOVES her job ;) The woman in front looks like she really enjoyed having her photo taken!  Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy that fresh turkey...they are lot better than the frozen ones!
Posted by Cris Burlew, Broker ~ St Pete Beach FL Real Estate (Beach & Luxury Realty, Inc.) over 12 years ago
I didn't know turkey came from animals!  I thought they came from the grocery store!
Posted by Chris Lengquist, Kansas City Real Estate Investing (Ad Astra Realty) over 12 years ago
Nice looking turkeys! You are forunate to be able to buy your turkeys fresh, I'm not sure I've ever had turkey that was purchased fresh.
Posted by Mary Warren over 12 years ago
Patricia, You are lucky to get a fresh turkey. All of ours are frozen. Enjoy.
Posted by Kay Perry (Kay Perry, Broker) over 12 years ago
Oh my... a little too close to reality for me... however, I'm glad they weren't packed into a caged area scrounging for their food - good shopping!  ..... Happy Thanksgiving!  I'll stick to the TofuTurkey :) while the rest of the family enjoys their bird....
Posted by Kim Wood, Kim Wood ~ The Tech Byte (The Tech Byte) over 12 years ago
Patricia - It is a little late for this year, but I passed the information on to my son and his friends in DC for next year's turkey. He only does free range anyway, so this is great information. While he does not own a car (what a savings in and of itself!!!) he has plenty of friends that do, so they could drive out together (they sometimes rent a car to take local trips - like shopping at IKEA) - So, again, thank you for the information!!! And have a blessed Thanksgiving with your entire family!!!! Peace -
Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 12 years ago

Pat, I'm sure it will be delicious when it's cooked. Too much information for me. lol. I wonder if my sister is making a fresh turkey? She's probably calling the butterball hotline for directions.

Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) over 12 years ago
That's why I'm a vegetarian... because she was a she.  But if you are going to eat meat, I always encourage this sort of a farm.  At least they can have a good life while they're here!  No reason they should be abused & miserable before it's their time to go.  : )
Posted by Chris Fisher (Your Virtual Assistant) over 12 years ago
I'm so glad i ate before reading this post. Have a happy turkey day!! Dont eat too much.
Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic ( over 12 years ago
I'd just bet that people working in a turkey factory eat something else on Thanksgiving.
Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 12 years ago

Im not opposed to hunting or such farms, I just prefer to keep my distance from all the animals I eat. 

I had a friend years ago that had a farm and raised cattle.  There was one little cow that was quite sickly and almost did not make it.  I fed that cow a bottle a few times a week, we played, he grew up big and strong, I still petted him and talked to him.  Then one day I was presented with 8 of the finest steaks I have ever seen.  I know it was business to them, but it was personal to me.  I refused the steaks, I was not going to eat my buddy. 


Posted by Chad Baird (Re/Max Spirit) over 12 years ago

Thanksgiving is special....every year we get together as a family...this year was no exception...the food was great...don't know where the Turkey came from but I am sure it wasn't from a place that cared about their product or gave anyone cookies.  Nice post Patricia...I can smell the pies!

Posted by Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375, Real Estate Services You can Trust! (Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions") over 12 years ago

Welllllll..... I think that I would rather have a turkey bred and grown in our good ole NC turkey farms where the turkeys have standing room only, over fed and grown just for the intent of getting killed and eaten than to have a turkey that had a good life and family and friends around them and all of a sudden that life ends.  I can stomach it better not knowing that they had a good life.  HOWEVER, lately those organic chickens in the grocery store that were raised without antibotics and allowed free range do taste so much better than other chickens.

This reminds me of being 9 years old and my best friend had a turkey in her garage one Thanksgiving.  We chased and played with that turkey.  Then it was gone.  Her mama had rung its neck and cooked it.  I don't remember the rest of the story but knowing my Mama she probably kept me away from that experience and told me they let the turkey go.  I think I will go call my best friend and ask her what ever happened to that turkey.  ;-)

Posted by Donna Grady, Bringing Home Results (Keller Williams Realty) over 12 years ago

Pat, I always enjoy your posts!

I make it a point not to make friends with any animal I plan to cook.  I love animals.  They're delicious..

I hope you had a splendid Thanksgiving!

Posted by Eric Kodner, Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island (Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes) over 12 years ago
Patricia- Organic is the only way to go if you are going to eat any meat of any kind. Congrats on the feature! Happy Thanksgiving! Katerina
Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 12 years ago

Patricia- that woman in the background could surely have used some spiced cider and molasses cookies it seems to me!


Posted by Jackie Peraza, Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts (Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC) over 12 years ago

Its nice to know they went down happy! =)

There is a little farm about 25 minutes south of Grand Rapids called Otto's Turkey Farm, and your story sounds very much like theirs.  


Posted by Daniel Sundberg (Crystal Springs Real Estate) over 12 years ago

As I looked at the photos, I wondered if I was the only one who noticed the lady in the background. Obviously not. If I were there, I'd have the face on, but it would also have had a bit of a green tint.

I'm afraid I don't eat anything that doesn't have Saran Wrap around it, Pat.

Here's a little personal aside:

My sister, who lives in Miami Beach, would never prepare and cook a whole bird - turkey or chicken. According to her, it was too much like handling a dead body, which, of course, it is. (Glad dinner is already over?)

One year at Thanksgiving she decided to invite friends and her husband's family to Thanksgiving dinner. Knowing this, my mother cooked, stuffed and froze an entire Turkey. Then she and I drove to the Atlanta airport to send it to my sister on a soon-to-depart flight. I sat in the car while my mother carried the bird into the freight building which had an entire store front of glass. I watched as the guy at the counter spoke to my mother. He was looking at her rather strangely.

When she came out, she was somewhat exasperated. She had explained to the clerk that her package had to make the next flight to Miami. He got increasingly concerned about her insistence. Finally she told him it was a frozen turkey. His question - "Hey lady, don't they have turkeys in Miami? So then she had to explain about her daughter's phobia.  The look on his face was priceless.

It didn't stop there. When we got home, I was instructed to call my sister "collect" and ask for Mr. T Bird. (Before everyone had free cellular long distance and too cheap to pay for the call.) So, being a dutiful daughter, I did. 

"Operator, I want to make a collect call to Mr. T. Bird."

The call is dialed and my sister picks up and says, "There's nobody here by that name," and she hung up.

Once again, my mother says to call using the "code."

"I'm not doing it!"

Of course, mom won.

The operator dialed the call, and I waited for my sister to pick up.

"Operator, I want to make a collect call to Mr. T. Bird." 

She heard my voice.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Bird is not here," she said.

My turn. "I'll call back for Mr. Bird at 9:30," I cued her.

So, the bird made its 9:30 arrival on time, and my sister had a Thanksgiving turkey for her guests. 

Posted by Diane Adler over 12 years ago
Turkey is turkey.  I didn't have to mess up my kitchen this year.  We went out for dinner as all Veteran cooks should do.
Posted by Vivienne Seaman (RE/MAX Eagle Properties) over 12 years ago


The lady in red in on the left did NOT want you to take her picture.  Fun post; even better commentary!  Thanks!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 12 years ago
Patricia, great post....I would never think of doing a post like this. I liked it. It does make we want to have veggie burgers for Thanksgiving, however. I think Diane stole the show here at the last!
Posted by Jeanean Gendron, Specializing in Selling Unique Properties (The Address Realty) over 12 years ago
These are great pictures!  thanks for sharing this.  It is very interesting
Posted by D B, e-PRO, Realtor - Bucks County PA - 610-952-3578 over 12 years ago

Patricia, what a nice post.  I admire the fact that you went out of your way to use meat from an animal that lived a good life, and have a grateful heart for its contribution to your life.  Good for you, and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. 

Diane, I enjoyed the turkey story!

Posted by Judith Reppert (United Country Countryside Realty) over 12 years ago

I've grown up around farms and have known many a dinners before they were cooked. I can say of all the animals that I have eaten the Turkey is the dumbest and if you really got to know them, you wouldn't feel so bad. Sounds harsh, but turkeys are dumb and mean!

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 12 years ago
When we lived in rural Tennessee, we bought our beef "on the hoof" from local farmers. One of the farmers fed his beautiful Angus cows corn, and fed it to them from his hands. Our family will guarantee that his beef was far better than anyone else's and we could tell the difference blindfolded.
Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 12 years ago