Over the past several years, consumers have become increasingly interested in knowing more about their food. Is it locally produced? Were any pesticides used on the crops? How was the livestock treated and what sort of diets did the animals receive? Knowing more about food production represents a healthy step towards becoming better-informed consumers.
With the holiday season approaching, families might be interested in continuing this trend by ordering their turkey, goose or other fowl from one of the many local Maryland farms that raise these animals. Rather than buying a shrink-wrapped bird with a plastic thermometer button jammed into the breast, families can head out to the farm and see where their bird was raised.
Several local Maryland turkey farms offer direct ordering. At Touch the Earth Farm in Hagerstown, the free-range poultry roam large pastures as they forage. The farm emphasizes “health and sustainability over rapid growth and double breasts.” Those wishing to visit the farm can call 301-223-8206 or go to touchtheearthfarm.com. The farm also raises a variety of other animals.
Weber’s Farm, in Parkville, Md., raises its turkeys in an open-air shelter, feeds them soybeans, oats and corn grown locally, and refrains from use of hormones. The farm also offers cider, apples, vegetables, breads and preserves for sale to round out the holiday meal. For more information, call 410-668-4488 or go to webersfarm.com.
Just north of Baltimore in Sparks, Md., Springfield Farm practices sustainable agricultural methods and uses no hormones, antibiotics or added chemicals. Its animals are treated humanely and roam freely during the warmer seasons. Three generations work the 67-acre farm and are happy to have visitors wander the land. They offer eggs, meat, poultry and dairy for sale. For information, go to ourspringfieldfarm.com or call 410-472-0738.
Maple Lawn Farms, 11788 Route 216, Fulton. At Maple Lawn Farms they take pride in having the very best free range all-natural turkeys. Fresh turkeys are offered for sale in November and December and fresh frozen throughout the rest of the year. An online request form is available Monday, November 1st through Sunday, November 21st for Thanksgiving turkey requests.
What's for sale: Free-range Broad-Breasted Whites, 10-45 pounds.
Price per pound: $1.95 for hens, $1.75 for toms.
Ordering: By phone or online; order by Nov. 19.
Pickup: At the farm through 5 p.m. Nov. 24. 301-725-2074 or online at MapleLawn.com
Groff’s Content Farm, 14930 Bollinger Road in Rocky Ridge sells heritage turkeys as well as standard broadbreasted turkeys, for Thanksgiving, holidays, or any occasion. They are free-range on pasture. Heritage turkeys have a great flavor and have a slender breast. Hens average 8-10 lbs. and toms average 12-18 lbs. Standard broadbreasted turkeys will range from 15-25 lbs. Place your order early as they go fast. 301-447-6148, www.groffscontentfarm.com or