For this week’s spotlight, we’re looking at big ideas and very small livestock. Entomo Farms, about two hours northeast of Torontoin Norwood Ontario, is leading the trend of alternative sustainable protein sources with farmed crickets and mealworms. The family farm is primarily run by three brothers, Darren, Jarrod, and Ryan Goldin, and was recently featured in the Bugs on the Menu documentary.

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The farm harbours about 90 million crickets and has been in production for over 10 years. Before 2014, however, they produced insects for reptile food and fishing bate. After reading a 2013 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations suggesting insects as a possible sustainable protein source, the Goldins thought transitioning to insects for human consumption seemed like a logical step. These days, the company sells whole roasted crickets and mealworms, protein powders, as well as roasted and seasoned snack versions that come in flavours like barbeque, sea salt and pepper, and honey mustard.

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Entomo Farms focuses on the sustainability of insects versus traditional animal proteins. For instance, if a family of four ate one meal a week using insect protein, they would save 650,000 liters of water over a single year. It is hard to ignore both the environmental and health benefits as crickets have twice as much protein than beef, more iron than spinach, and more calcium than milk.

Even the byproduct of the insects seems useful. Jarrod Goldin recently stated in Forbes that they are starting up a secondary company to sell the frass (insect poop) that the farm produces. Frass can be used as an effective fertilizer that triggers plants to bud and helps ward off other unwanted insects.

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While eating whole salted crickets may not seem appealing, Entomo tries to help with a slew of recipes and culinary inspirations on their site. These range from the simple (like matcha cricket powder smoothies) to the hardy (black bean cricket chili) and finally the decadent (cricket caramel cheesecake). This way, anyone can enjoy the protein of the future without too much squeamishness.

Find out more on their website.

– Adrian Paradis