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Try a Fresh, Local Turkey this Thanksgiving – Order Yours Before It’s Too Late


Photo courtesy Edwin Remsberg/

ANNAPOLIS, MD – This Thanksgiving, Maryland families are encouraged to purchase local, farm-fresh turkeys from one of the many Maryland turkey growers across the state.

“For the freshest, best tasting turkey this Thanksgiving, order a locally raised Maryland turkey,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Don’t forget to place your orders early for local Thanksgiving turkeys, as many Maryland farms will sell out. The high demand for these birds is evidence to the superior flavor in a fresh, local turkey.”

According to the latest USDA Census in 2012, 117 Maryland farms sold 154,404 turkeys. Turkeys sold directly from the farm to the consumer account for a small portion of the total production. By purchasing a locally-raised turkey, consumers will help support our family farms and community.

This year, why not try using a farm fresh heritage breed turkey. Check out Lucie Snodgrass’s Roast Heritage Turkey recipe from her cookbook, Dishing Up Maryland. While you’re at it, add a touch of Maryland flare to your holiday meal by pairing it with local wine, such as the 2015 Governor’s Cup Competition Best in Class, Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, Chardonnay Reserve 2014. Other Governor’s Cup winning wines can be found at

To find a local turkey for your Thanksgiving feast, visit The website, sponsored by the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Department, lists many farms throughout the state that sell farm-fresh turkeys. Consumers can also find local cheeses, wines, beer, and other Maryland products to serve during the holidays.

“Roast Heritage Turkey”
From Lucie Snodgrass, Dishing Up Maryland Cookbook

12 Servings


1 (16-18 pound) Narragansett or other heritage-breed turkey, cavities cleaned, rinsed, and patted dry

1 small onion, peeled

6 garlic cloves, peeled

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon seal salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried rosemary

½ teaspoon dried savory



  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the turkey breast side up on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan. Make six small incisions in the turkey’s skin using a sharp knife. Insert the garlic under the turkey’s skin.
  2. Spread the mustard over the turkey’s skin with a knife, and then drizzle the olive oil over. Sprinkle the salt and pepper on the turkey’s skin and in the cavities, and place the onion in the neck cavity. Sprinkle the sage, thyme, rosemary, and savory over the turkey, and insert a meat thermometer into one of the thigh areas near the breast.
  3. Loosely cover the bird with aluminum foil, making a tent over the turkey and lightly tucking the foil around the edges of the pan. Roast for about 4 hours, or 15 minutes per pound. (See Note). About 30 minutes before the turkey is done, remove aluminum foil and allow the skin to brown. Continue roasting until the meat thermometer reaches 180°F and the turkey’s juices run clear.
  4. Remove the turkey from the oven and let it stand, covered, for 20 minutes.

Note: If you choose to stuff the turkey, you will need to increase the roasting time. I usually bake my stuffing separately, so that vegetarians can eat it, but you can certainly divide the stuffing, putting some in the turkey and baking some separately, if you prefer.

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