A Farm Where the Water Buffalo Roam

Mease Farm

BY NANCY HILLER Meet Buffy, Ginger, Nilla, Sassy, Blanca, and Bella. Judging by their names, the girls in this list might be characters in a reality television show. But these particular flaxen-tressed lovelies have cloven hooves, and they like nothing better than to submerse themselves shoulder-high in a muddy pond. They are water buffalo—six of the nineteen at Loesch Farm, the latest venture of longtime business partners Jeff Mease and Lennie Busch. Acquiring a herd of water buffalo with a plan to manufacture mozzarella cheese is not your everyday business move in the uplands of south-central Indiana. But Mease and Busch see the animals as an adventurous outgrowth of their more conventional undertakings—Lennie’s Restaurant, Pizza X, Bloomington Brewing Company, and [...]

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“Don’t Mess with Lennie’s Menu!” Its Longtime Customers Warn

Spinach and Artichoke Torta. Photos by Christine Barbour

BY CHRISTINE BARBOUR It was boredom with the pizza delivery business that got Mease and his then-wife, now partner, Lennie Busch interested in opening the sit-down restaurant we know as Lennie’s in 1989. It was boredom that got him interested in the home-brewing business that led to the Bloomington Brewing Company in 1994. And it was boredom that spurred the recent purchase of a farm out on Loesch Road that will become home to a bigger brewery, and perhaps to imported water buffalo from Italy, prized for the mozzarella made from their milk, or to pampered pigs who will be turned into cured sausages. “We try not to get him bored very often,” laughs Busch, “because then you’ve got a [...]

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