Dec 3, 2015
The Country’s First Edible Insect Farm
Kevin Bachhuber founded Big Cricket Farms in Youngstown, Ohio in 2014 in response to growing water shortages, the rising costs of protein production and a simple love of eating insects inspired by a trip to Thailand. Big Cricket Farms is the first government certified food grade insect farm in this country, producing up to 1,200 pounds of crickets per month. Not only has the farm garnered a lot of national attention, they can’t even keep up with demand. Below, we talk with Bachhuber about how economic revitalization plays a role in his career, what it means to own and operate a cricket farm, and the future of edible insects in the United States.
AndrewZimmern.com: Why did you decide to start a cricket farm?
Kevin Bacchuber: Well, I didn’t wake up at six years old and decide I wanted to be a cricket farmer. In 2006, I went to Thailand for a month. Eating bugs is a very normal part of the cuisine there. They give you little bowls with crickets and bamboo worms, and if you go to the night markets, there are giant water beetles and scorpions. I came back to America and thought, “This is the best idea. We should raise crickets.”
When a FAO report came out in 2013 that said two billion people worldwide eat bugs and maybe you should too, I called up the people who were doing Kickstarters for the [cricket] protein powder and asked what kind of pains they were looking to address with their cricket supply. The biggest issue was the food grade, a lot of people were getting them from Thailand, and there are supply chain issues there. So in April of last year, we moved from Sacramento to Youngstown and started raising crickets.