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Winter Favorites: Jeff Mease and Water Buffalo; Oyster Stew

We're celebrating the new year by taking a look back at some of our favorite recipes and interviews of 2009. This week: water buffalo, and oyster stew.

Jeff Mease with one of his water buffalo

Photo: January Jones/WFIU

Jeff Mease feeds bagels to two members of his water buffalo herd.

jeff mease with one of his water buffalo

Photo: January Jones/WFIU

Happy New Year from Earth Eats!

We’re celebrating the end of 2009 and the beginning of a new year this week and next week by taking a look back at some of our favorite recipes and interviews of 2009.

On this episode, we talk with Jeff Mease, a local farmer and restauranteur who raises water buffalo. AND, Chef Orr prepares a delicious oyster stew, perfect for cold winter nights.

Earth Eats’ Weekly News Update

But first, here’s a few news stories we were following this week:

Bear Meat: Unsafe. (Duh) Eating Chickens, However…

The CDC recently released a study showing that eating bear meat can be risky business, but if you think eating chicken is safer, you might want to think again. Read More »

To Reduce Emissions, Choose Frozen Fish Over Fresh

If you’re an eco-conscious seafood fan, you are probably aware of the complex sustainability issues around buying fish and other seafood. Is wild caught better than farmed? Does “organic” make a difference? Read More »

Water Buffalo: From Milk To Mozzarella With Jeff Mease

Last February, Chef Daniel Orr and Earth Eats’ Host Annie Corrigan took a trip out to Jeff Mease’s water buffalo farm just outside of Bloomington, Indiana. It’s one of the few farms in the country raising water buffalo. Read More »

Watch An Audio Slideshow of Earth Eats’ Visit to Jeff Mease’s Farm:


Recipe: Oyster Stew

This is a simple and elegant starter for any celebration. I love it during the chilly holiday season. Here in the Midwest we don’t have many oysters around so we wait until the winter months when the oysters are at their best for shipping to the Midwest.
a bowl of oyster stew

Photo: Earth Eats Staff

Serves: 4


  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 clove garlic- minced
  • ½ cup minced celery
  • ½ cup minced leeks- white and light green parts
  • 1 quart half-and-half cream
  • 2 (12 ounce) containers fresh shucked oysters, undrained
  • 1 tsp. Sweet Seasons Spice Blend or Chinese 5 Spice powder
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 4 pieces of buttered white toast
  • 4 pieces butter for garnish, about 1 teaspoon each
  • Paprika, preferably smoked Spanish paprika if available
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Melt the butter in a ½ gallon sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, celery and leeks and cook until they are tender and translucent. Do not allow to brown or they will discolor the stew.
  2. Season with the spice mix, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
  3. Pour in half-and-half cream stir continuously. When the mixture is almost boiling, pour the oysters and their liquid into the pot.
  4. Stir continuously until the oysters curl at the ends. Do not overcook. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  5. Place one piece of toast in each of the pre-warmed bowls, ladle over equal amounts in each bowl Make sure you share the oysters!
  6. Place a piece of butter on top of each bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and a pinch of paprika. Serve straight away.

Next Week

That’s all for this week! Next week we have another couple of our favorite segments from the past year: recipes for Chicken Liver Crostini and Brazilian Style Collard Greens.

Wishing you all the very best for the new year! And let us know what you think of these recipes by sending us an e-mail: eartheats @

Adam Schweigert

Adam Schweigert is the Managing Editor and Senior Producer for Earth Eats. He is also the Online Director for Indiana Public Media (WFIU/WTIU) and has been with WFIU Public Radio since the fall of 2003, previously serving as Director of Multimedia Initiatives, Music Director and Arts Bureau Chief. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana with his dog Sydney.

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