Ready for a Tasty New Protein? Crickets!
Crickets are eaten around the world – so why not South Florida? They’re a low-calorie source of protein with more iron than spinach, omega-3s, more potassium than bananas, plus dietary fiber. At Seginus Farms, the first urban cricket farm in Florida, founder Joseph Skipper is helming this sustainable food operation in Margate, selling food made from Tropical Banded Crickets online and at Yellow Green Farmers Market.
Why crickets? Consider them an alternative to factory-farmed meat. Insects are a rich source of environmentally sustainable protein, emitting far fewer greenhouses gases than cows. According to Seginus Farms, the crickets, being raised in a warehouse, don't need much in the way of resources. They're fed high quality, organic and sustainable feed. Ground into flour, they're efficient to produce, compared to livestock.
Elsewhere in the world, an estimated 80 percent of the population already eats more than 1,900 different types of bugs. In Mexico, toasted chapulines – grasshoppers – turn up in tacos and as snacks. Chingrit thot is a Thai snack made from deep-fried crickets. Americans are likely already eating bugs already without knowing it – the FDA allows a percentage of insect fragments in processed foods anyway.
Nationally, edible bug manufacturers are mobilizing. In May, the North American Edible Insect Coalition was formed, so expect to see more about this sector of the food industry soon.
Cricket Brownies and Shakes
Meanwhile, Skipper is looking to build awareness of his products by offering tastings of bugs and brownies made from cricket baking flour.
"I am really excited about this process of building a new business and bringing crickets and other edible insects to the market," says Skipper, a former teacher and girls' basketball and football coach. "I will be starting off with crickets and meal worms as we grow as a farm. We plan to farm and offer other edible insects as well."
What do they taste like? Crunchy and roasty. The brownies are fudgy and delicious. There's also a protein shake mix becoming popular among bodybuilders as an alternative to highly processed whey protein isolate.
Skipper says his mission is getting people to reconsider what they eat for their health as well as the health of where we live. "We here at Seginus Farms decided it was time to do something new and exciting to help meet these changing demands on our planet. So we have stepped up to the challenge of changing consumer ideas of how we eat, what we eat, how we produce it and what is healthy for us."
Find Seginus Farms at Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood, open on weekends.