Published on October 18th, 2016 | by gatsbyadmin0
Dishing Up Crickets in California
Ready to take your protein powder to the next level?
Per calorie, crickets have as much fiber as tofu, as much omega-3 as salmon, and can be added as a comprehensive protein supplement to nearly any meal or snack.” – Coalo Valley Farms website www.coalo.farm
Wow, that’s pretty cool….wait, what? What did I just read? Crickets as a dietary supplement? You’re like, totally buggin’!
The option of a high protein, high fiber, diet additive is not a new idea. 80% of the world already follow diets utilizing bugs, and have been for thousands of years. With the push for dietary “cleanliness” & raw food not only picking up steam, but steaming ahead, crickets do not seem like a far off choice for supplementing a high protein diet.
After graduating from Colby College in picturesque Waterville, Maine, Elliot Mermel found himself wondering how long he could go on job interviews that left him dreading the first day of that job. His degrees in Healthcare Economics and Bio Entrepreneurship would serve him well as a pharmaceutical sales rep, or investment banker, but the thought had him hating the future he was seeing for himself.
Elliott states, “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset focused on solving bigger problems in a way that makes sense. I read a Food and Agricultural Report shedding light on the global food security issues, and realized the shifting focus to protein production, insects, crickets in particular. We did the research, and a month later were moving to California to start the farm.”
From that spark of idea, four college friends, Elliot Mermel, Pete Markoe, Lucas Haralson, and Sophie Hamblett, moved cross country from the shores of New England, to the “real” Valley, the San Fernando Valley. In a refurbished and repurposed warehouse near the Van Nuys airport, the dream of a “Cricket Empire” is being realized.
Sustainability is a popular buzzword at the moment, however, crickets have always been a sustainable option. Utilizing 1 gallon of water per pound of crickets, compared to 2,000 gallons of water for ONE pound of beef, the difference is clear. Only 1.6 pounds of feed is needed for crickets to create 1 pound of protein, as opposed to cows requiring around 20 pounds of feed to produce ONE pound of protein. Cows also produce 100 times more greenhouse gases than crickets do, another example of the sustainable option of eating crickets.
A variety of different carnivorous and herbivorous fish and crustaceans are also being raised along with these crickets, enabling Coalo to maintain an all natural feeding system comparable to what would be seen in an outdoor ecosystem. Feeding dead crickets and uneaten produce to crayfish, natural bacteria in their waste convert ammonia into nitrate. This nutrient rich byproduct is then pumped hydroponically back into the grow beds which grow the vegetation the crickets eat, creating a self sustaining, closed system growth cycle.
The next idea Coalo Valley Farms would like to form into a reality, is that of a farm-to-grocer market. Fresh, on-site hydroponically grown produce and protein would be available to consumers, along with cricket smoothies, juices, chocolates, and burgers. Ideally these markets would be located in “food deserts” of the country, and neighborhoods without access to farms. Cities that are in need of local economic growth and sustainable agriculture can also benefit from the new marketplace being created.
“Coalo Cricket Powder” and the “Original Boneless Skinless Cricket Breast™, are available on the website.
“Cocoa Coated Crickets,” made with only the finest in gluten-free, non-GMO, ethically traded, Kosher, and USDA Certified, Santa Barbara Organic Dark Chocolate is also in stock.
Of course these crickets are the freshest, highest in protein, and richest in fiber, why, these are Southern Californian crickets.
Written by: Courtney Gilmore @ofogcbd