EPISODE | THE CRICKET FARMER


This is my farm or my
ranch or my, I’m not sure what you call
it to be honest. This past year I actually
started my own company called Gym-N-Eat Crickets
and I raise crickets for human consumption. Crickets are actually 60%
protein by dry weight. So that is about double
the protein of beef. I’m sending it
through the sifter. It has kind of become the
trendy thing to say that you’re an entrepreneur. This is my hatchery. Little do they see
everything that goes on behind-the-scenes. You definitely have
to have perseverance. I do have samples if
anybody is feeling brave. You have to take no a lot,
or in my case you have to endure really
disgusted faces. (laughter) ♪♪ (typewriter dings) (rowing machine sounds) People who
are active definitely need to get a little extra
protein in their day-to-day basis just from
a recovery and a muscle building standpoint. So for me that was one of
the main draws to get into insect protein. ♪♪ I grew up playing
all sorts of sports. I ended up landing on
basketball, was lucky enough to earn a
full scholarship to St. Joseph’s University
out in Philadelphia and then was again lucky
enough to continue my career in Ireland as part
of a program called Sport Changes Life. ♪♪ I graduated with
an MSc in finance from Trinity College in Dublin. So I was in the high
finance industry and I actually found myself
really unhappy. ♪♪ I moved back here
to Iowa to see if I could try my hand at
farming with my dad. I got back, didn’t even
know how to drive the tractor, so day one
learned how to drive the tractor. Day two I got put in the
grain cart, spilled corn everywhere. I made it through harvest,
survived and then all winter my dad encouraged
me to look at other niche markets. He said, you don’t have to
fight the same markets I did. If you want to find a
niche, go for it, we’ll help you get started. So I sent them an article
about raising crickets for human consumption. (crickets chirping) ♪♪ Crickets, people don’t know it, but are
actually a nutritional powerhouse and they’re
also very sustainable in terms of a source
of protein. They have more iron than
spinach, more calcium than milk, they’re a good
source of vitamin B-12, have a good ratio of Omega
6 to Omega 3 essential fatty acids and all nine
essential amino acids. So they are a
complete protein. ♪♪ Welcome
to my orchestra. That’s actually what you
call a group of crickets, fun fact that might win
you a trivia contest at some stage. In this room I probably
have close to a quarter million crickets. I started off with two
of these blue bins. It has been an adventure. ♪♪ For cooking, the
initial step obviously is to kill them. They’re killed
in the freezer. Natural death just like
happens to every bug in Iowa. So after these guys have
roasted for just about eight hours they get
pulled out of the oven. These ones right here are
unseasoned, unflavored, so these will be ground
into a powder. And then these ones over
here, they’re dry roasted, they’re flavored, these
ones are maple chipotle. They’re just a
crunchy little snack. For every half ounce pack
there is about 8 grams of protein. ♪♪ I get a lot of
people that look at them and go, ew, it’s got legs. My number one comeback for
that is, well do you eat chicken wings? (blender sounds) Now we’re
making sure all the scary stuff is gone so all of
the legs and the big bodies can be mixed into a
protein bar or a smoothie or anything like that. Any baking recipe that
you have, chocolate chip cookies or bread or
anything like that, you can sub in a bit
of cricket powder. ♪♪ (crickets
crunching) So why would anyone want to
eat crickets? Great question. Education is paramount
in what I do. 80% of the world eats
insects by choice. The population of the
world is projected to be near 10 billion by 2050. Current agricultural
production is going to need to double. Where I go from here? Who knows, because if you
would have told me 18 months ago that I’d be
raising bugs for human consumption,
absolutely not. There is a carryover
between being able to persevere 23 hours into a
25 and a half hour race and just keep moving
and keep going. ♪♪ I actually prefer
swimming upstream. ♪♪ Bigger
muscles that way. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ (typewriter sounds) (typewriter dings) (music)

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