CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- With more than 1,600 turkeys on 160 acres of farmland, it's shaping up to be a busy Thanksgiving for the DeMaria family of Cortlandt Manor.
That's because turkeys are one of the signature items at the DeMaria's homestead, Hemlock Hill Farm , a generations-owned family business at 500 Croton Avenue. The farm has been serving up Thanksgiving dinners for more than 50 years, first by Nicholas DeMaria and now by his son, John.
Aside from turkeys, the farm has chickens and cows along with duck and geese for Christmas dinner. Lambs can also be seen grazing on the farm.
The birds -- broad breasted white turkeys -- are butchered the week of Thanksgiving over the course of two days to ensure they are freshest for T-day. And though they are served mainly in the Hudson Valley, they've also gotten wide acclaim from across the pond.
"We always get good comments about the quality of our turkeys," said John DeMaria. "Our turkeys go across the country; we've even shipped them to Europe. Visitors come here and take turkeys with them."
DeMaria's food can also be found at area restaurants including the Birdsall House in Peeskill, Harth at the Hilton Hotel in Rye, and Castle Hotel in Tarrytown.
Though farm life can be tough, with long hours -- DeMaria is up at 4 a.m. most days -- he says he gets to rest and enjoy his dose of tryptophan come the holiday. His family has Thanksgiving dinner using one of its turkeys, and no, DeMaria does not feel guilty about slaughtering his animals. "We treat them humanely," he said.
In fact, all animals are fed grain from the Captain Lawrence Brewery in Elmsford.
Haven't ordered a turkey yet? There's still time. For more information visit http://hemlockhillfarm.com/ or call 914-737-2810.
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