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Families line up for fresh turkey at Maple Lawn Farms in Howard County

Grabbing up gobblers in Howard County
Posted at 12:33 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 18:27:41-05
Almost 400 years after the first Thanksgiving, this is a pilgrimage of a different kind.
 
People stand in line as long as it takes in pursuit of the perfect turkey at Maple Lawn Farms in Howard County.
 
"It's a family tradition,” said Noella Bryan of Ellicott City as she stood in line, “We used to bring our kids when they were little.  We'd drag the wagon behind.  It's always a fun time.  It's part of Thanksgiving to come out here no matter how long the line is."
 
The payoff comes when customers finally enter this door and are introduced to a fourth generation family operation where the large birds harvested just 24 hours earlier are ready to be wrapped up to haul home.
 
Chris Bohrer says the turnaround for turkeys you find in supermarkets can be as long as two weeks.
 
"I believe our biggest difference is the quality we take and the time we take with our turkeys,” said Bohrer, “Our turkeys are never trucked.  They're brought here at one-day old and then they're raised here the entire time.  They're walked to our plant where we harvest them.  So they live in a stress-free environment."    
 
It is a level of freshness and quality that drives people to pay more, to wait more and to travel more than your average turkey seekers.
 
"We came all the way from Tampa, Florida, because this is the best turkey in the United States," said one woman as she finally arrived at the counter.
 
After all, you only have one chance to celebrate Thanksgiving each year.
 
"We've made this a tradition so now that I've got my grandson, we've been dragging him out here for the last three, four, five years with us too,” said Lee Stringham of Severn, “Enjoy the day."
 
"What do you like the best about Thanksgiving?" we asked Stringham’s five-year old grandson, Liam.
 
"Uhhhmmmmm.... turkey," he responded right on cue.
 
Maple Lawn Farms will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but they'll re-open on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. -noon, and they say they'll have plenty of turkeys available for holiday requests next month.
 

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