Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook 

We've got pastured turkeys-Come and get em! Turkeys are a go at  $2.99 a pound. They can be ordered until Friday before and picked up from Monday 11/21 until close of business 11/23. With this stupendous Local turkey, I put together a holiday menu with recipes which makes the most of your farmer's or just possibly your garden's last blast.

Following our menu is an article about heritage birds-back on track! After that you'll find Maple Lawn Farm's proclamation for their happy healthy birds.

  • Holiday Turkey with Pear-and-Bacon Stuffing
  • Roasted Brussel Spouts with Pancetta
  • Mashed Parsnips and Potatoes
  • Sweet-Potato Meringue Pie 

Something to be thankful for: Real turkeys make a comeback

Maple Lawn Farms Turkeys at Homestead Gardens 

At Maple Lawn Farms we are known for our registered Holstein dairy cattle and our "Sho-Nuf" oven-ready fresh turkeys with absolutely nothing added.

Henry Iager purchased the 108 acre parcel of land in Fulton in 1839 and the Iager family has actively farmed that land as well as additional acreage that was acquired later. We still continue to raise crops to feed our livestock and the community.

We are proud to offer a product that is naturally high in protein and low in fat and cholesterol. We maintain the strictest of control to maintain a healthy, clean environment to grow and pamper our birds.

Do not overcook! - Fresh-killed turkeys are young, tender and juicy and they cook more quickly than a previously frozen one. Moreover, they are high in protein, low in calories and cholesterol.


Holiday Turkey with Pear-and-Bacon Stuffing 

serves 8 to 10

Make sure to bring the bird to room temperature before cooking. Most heritage turkeys are sold fresh. The general rule allows 10 minutes per pound roasting time for heritage or free-range turkeys; This recipe with stuffing will take about 2 hours (give or take a few minutes) on the grill if the turkey is close to 12 pounds.

Use a brining bag or double up with two heavy-duty, unscented trash bags and, if the bag won’t fit in the fridge, put it in a cooler or ice chest large enough to hold the turkey. If your holiday bird is small, like the one we tested, it should fit in your refrigerator.

  • 1 fresh heritage turkey, about 12 pounds
  • for the brine:
  • 2 /3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 dried bay leaves, broken into pieces
  • 6 medium sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 gallons cold water


  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 medium d’Anjou pears, peeled and cored, 1 diced, 2 coarsely chopped, divided use
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or spicy mustard
  • 3 medium scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped, any drippings reserved
  • 4 cups fresh cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh, finely chopped sage

for the roasting aromatiques:

  • remaining coarsely chopped pears
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups apple cider

Remove the giblet bag from the turkey along with any extra internal fat and the small, fine, pin feathers. Rinse the bird well under cold water. If using a large, sturdy bag for brining, combine the salt, sugar, pepper, bay leaves, and thyme in the bag; add the cold water. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the turkey; there should be enough liquid to completely cover it. Press the air out of the bag and close tightly. Keep the turkey cold with bags of ice, which will also help keep it submerged in the brine. Brine 12 to 24 hours.

Alternatively, place turkey and brine in a large pan or bowl. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. If turkey floats to the top, weigh it down with a plate and cans to keep it submerged.

When ready to stuff, blot the turkey dry with paper towel. Sprinkle pepper in the cavity and rub into the skin.

Make the stuffing

Toss only the diced pear with the mustard, scallion, bacon and dripping, cornbread cubes, and sage; then loosely pack the mixture into the cavity. Tuck the tips of the wings under so they don’t burn. Place turkey on a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan and spread the diced celery around the turkey. You may want a layer of heavy foil wrapped around the bottom of the pan to protect it from the flames or use a heavy, disposable roasting pan. Tent breast loosely with foil.

To grill-roast:

Preheat grill to medium-high.

For the first hour, cover the bird with heavy foil to seal, and cook directly over the flame. For the second hour, move the turkey in the roasting pan to the indirect heat side of the grill, remove foil covering and spoon some of the apple cider over the turkey. Repeat drizzling with apple cider at least 2 more times during the grill roasting.

Remove the foil, pour the remaining apple cider over the turkey and pears and finish grilling over indirect flame with the grill lid closed to brown and until the juices run clear, and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh reads 160° to 165°F; cooking time should be a total of ???1 to 1¼ hours. Let the roasted bird rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Place the carved the turkey and stuffing on a serving platter. Arrange the fruit and vegetables around the meat and keep warm. On the grill, tip the roasting pan so the drippings pool to one end. Remove excess fat with a tablespoon. Scrape the bottom of the pan and cook the juices for about 5 minutes.

Drizzle the sauce over the turkey and serve more sauce on the side.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Serves 6

  • 6 slices pancetta
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the pancetta into small pieces and place on a sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Pour off any accumulated fat.

Meanwhile, cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on the sheet pan and toss with the pancetta. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside and the pancetta has browned, tossing occasionally. Sprinkle with more kosher salt, drizzle lightly with Balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.


Sweet-Potato Meringue Pie 

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • pastry for a 9-inch pie crust
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • 4 eggs, separated whites reserved for meringue
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 reserved egg whites
  • Dash salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the sweet potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two. Transfer the sweet potatoes into a mixing bowl and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line a 9-inch pie dish with the unbaked pie crust.

Mash the sweet potatoes until smooth and mix in butter, the brown sugar, salt, cream, egg yolks, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Pour the filling into the pie crust.

Bake in the preheated oven until the filling is set and the pie crust is beginning to brown, 25 to 30 minutes.


While the pie is baking, combine the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan, making sure there are no sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan. Place over medium heat, and cook until bubbles thicken.

While the sugar is cooking, whisk the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a mixer to medium peaks.

When the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, remove from the heat and stream it slowly down the side of the mixer bowl into the whites while whisking on high speed. Continue whisking until very stiff and beginning to get warm. Add the vanilla and mix lightly.

Remove the pie from the oven and place the meringue on top of the pie, making decorative swirls. Return to oven, and bake until the meringue turns golden brown, about 10 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning. Allow to cool before serving.



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