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Bucks Professor on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods

Colleen Gall, Centurion Staff

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Dr. Charlie Groth, who teaches in the Language and Literature Department here at Bucks, was on the Travel Channel’s hit show, Bizarre Foods, for Lewis Fishery for their shad fishing and dishes.

Lewis Fishery, located on a small island off Lambertville, New Jersey, has been in operation since 1888 and is the only fishery left on the Delaware River.  It is known for its shad festival, held every spring.

Dr. Groth started off volunteering for the fishery 20 years ago.  She was working on cultural research for her grad studies.  After a few years and a growing family, Dr. Groth, her husband, and daughters became a huge element on the crew.

Earlier this year, the fishery got a phone call from the producers of Bizarre Foods.  The show was making an episode about the Philadelphia area and wanted to show specifically the fishery since of its well-known status on the Delaware.

After months of talking on the phone, planning segments they were going to show, the crew and host, Andrew Zimmern, made their way to the island to film on May 13th in the prime of shad season and the festival.

They first started off by showing Zimmern the island and how the fishing nets worked in the water.  After the crew brought in the fish they caught and sorted them out, they showed him where the fish are sold and cleaned.

While they were showing Zimmern the house, Dr. Groth was cooking different meals of shad for Zimmern to eat.  Dr. Groth, who isn’t a professional chef, was nervous to make her meals for him.  “He kept telling me, ‘Don’t let anyone tell you, you don’t have the gift.’”

Dr. Groth added that Zimmern made her feel comfortable and had an easy vibe during the filming process.  She made for him a grilled shad filet and her own creation of fishcakes that have become a tradition to the crew.

Zimmern was speechless when he ate Dr. Groth’s creations.  After Zimmern finished the dinner around 9:30, the Bizarre Foods crew packed up and left to go and edit the footage they had from the day.

Dr. Groth explained the day as unpredictable and fast.  While one thing was happening, another thing was being filmed.

Dr. Groth and the fishery crew hope that the show will bring more exposure to the fishery.  Since it is on a small island, many people do not even realize it is there.

The shad festival is held every spring and is where they get more customers and business.  Talking about the shad festival, Dr. Groth said, “It is tradition that helps preserve the environment, helps the shad and river, and preserves other cultures traditions.”

Dr. Groth expressed, “I want people to understand that the shad fishery is more than the shad festival.”  Even though that is what they are most known for, she wants people to realize they are there at other times.  “As long as the gate is unlocked, we are open,” she added.

The first airing of the episode was on October 19 on the Travel Channel but will air again on November 29.  The episode is also on On Demand and can be watched on the Travel Channel’s website.

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Bucks Professor on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods