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Sparks Farm Owners See Boost In Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey Sales

SPARKS, Md. (WJZ) -- "Farm fresh" has a new meaning for some Thanksgiving fanatics this year. As Maryland turkey farms are gearing up for the season, one Baltimore County farm has nearly sold out.

Gigi Barnett explains why.

Centuries ago, it may have been the breed of turkey pilgrims enjoyed on the first Thanksgiving -- a free-range heritage turkey.

At Springfield Farms in Sparks, owners are seeing a boost in the number of customers who want the same thing.

"It's a draw in that people are looking to get back to the roots of how things were done hundreds of years ago before things were changed," said Valerie Lafferty, the co-owner of Springfield Farms.

Workers on the family farm started raising the birds back in the spring. Between the heritage turkeys and the broad-breasted bronze, the farm has 600 birds. Everything shifts into high gear in the next few days.

"We have a lot of really good friends that come out to help us, and we feed them really well," Lafferty said.

The turkeys at Springfield Farm are in such high demand, some customers have called asking to ship the turkeys. But those orders are turned away.

"They've never been frozen," Lafferty said. "We don't ship."

But after customers pick up their orders from the family's farm store, some of these birds may fly home for the holidays.

"We actually had a man who put his in a suitcase and flew it to California. So the turkeys have traveled," said Lafferty.

In the next few days, workers at Springfield Farm will begin processing the turkeys. They'll end up at farmers' markets in Bethesda, Rockville and Annapolis.

The free-range birds are a bit more expensive than some supermarket brands. They're about $8 a pound. The farm says its deadline for orders is Sunday.

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