The Haas family of Lazy Dog Farm really knows how to keep Thanksgiving.
For Cheryl Bailey Haas, the epitome of Thanksgiving was the time in 1985 when her family rented the Memorial School and hosted more than 100 family and friends for the traditional feast. Cheryl (who is related to many, many people in town) remembers her mother, grandmother, and many aunts cooking multiple turkeys and pots of potatoes, and everyone else bringing side dishes and desserts. “It’s something I’d like to do again, once the pandemic is over,” she says.
Growing a Farm
You might say Cheryl and husband Rick have been building up to it again since 2013. That’s when they bought the little 1774 cape on three and half acres at the corner of Estes Road and Intervale Road, and started Lazy Dog Farm. Both Cheryl and Rick grew up raising cows and crops; Cheryl on her family homestead, and Rick at Opportunity Farm; and their intentions were initially to raise for themselves and their family of five. As friends tried their results – including eggs, chicken, and goat cheese – it evolved into a business. Now Lazy Dog Farm and Creamery sells a variety of farm products through Pineland, the Village Store, Bow Street Market in Freeport, and at various farmers’ markets, as well as from their door.
Among their seasonal products are Bronze-breasted turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They accept pre-orders before purchasing their chicks in March. The chicks arrive so tiny they can sit in your hand, weighing just a few ounces. By the harvest time, the birds weigh between 22 and 29 pounds. Most are sold whole to the people who pre-ordered. Some of those turkeys are usually served up on Thanksgiving by the Haas for their own large friends-and-family gathering around the custom-made 12 ½ foot table that dominates the first floor of their renovated farmhouse.
Ready for A Covid Thanksgiving
Last year, for the first time, Cheryl roasted a couple of birds and they sold the meat by the pound to a few customers who they knew would not be having big gatherings. This year, with Covid limiting gatherings, they knew there would be demand for more cooked-ahead turkey meat, but didn’t widely advertise for fear of being overwhelmed. Though they have 3 ovens now in their farmhouse, Cheryl says she likes to cook the birds one by one in the oven in the main room, where she can keep her eye on them. This year they roasted 3 turkeys ahead, and by Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, had sold more than 30 lbs to various families.
There’s something new at Lazy Dog every year. Cheryl will be experimenting with hard cheeses this winter, expanding the herb garden next spring, and continuing with making crafts to sell. Rick (a carpenter by trade), will continue on his constant project of renovating the old house, and plans to add a farm stand.