How free-range can you get?

~Written by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.


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This past Friday I drove to visit Katherine and Sam Ecker of Legacy Manor Farm in Boonsboro, MD, which is about an hour north of D.C. After having been warned in an email not to dress up because “we really are free range which means plenty of poop”, I donned my rubber rain boots (the ones with the little blue whales on them), a pair of jeans, and made the trek out to the farm. And Legacy Manor Farm definitely did not disappoint me in the free range department—Katherine wasn’t kidding! In fact, on the driveway leading up to the farm, I had to stop my car—twice…once for a pair of turkeys that didn’t seem to understand  that I couldn’t move until they moved, and then once again when an angry-looking pig decided to have a stare-down with the bumper of my car. (The stare-down lasted two minutes before the pig finally grunted and moved out of the way.)

Eventually, though, I made it to the end of the driveway, and as I got out of my car, I found myself smack in the middle of a flurry of farm animals. Chickens and turkeys zigzagged in front of the house; herds of piglets chased their mothers to the water hole (or were chased themselves, by Katherine’s exuberant three year old grandson); white geese waddled by, never leaving the flock; not to mention horses and of course the cattle on a nearby pasture that I didn’t get to see. The animals sprinted around the driveway, Katherine’s front yard, and porch—in addition to the pastureland that was originally intended for them.


Katherine was telling the truth—the farm really is free range. When I asked her why she chose to be free range, she said “I actually never thought of anything but [free range]. You know, I’ve always been brought up with animals running around… I never ever even heard of confinement until I got into my own [business]. I was really ignorant about where the food in the stores came from.”

Well, rest assured, the food coming from Legacy Manor is anything but confinement raised. On my way out of the farm, Katherine half-jokingly warned me to check my backseat for any turkeys before I drove away. Apparently one turkey on the farm is known for her fondness of laying eggs in moving vehicles…


To see more photos of Legacy Manor Farm, visit our Facebook page