“…Have to Give Crickets a Try”

We have had our farm in Hampshire County since the early ’50s’, but I attended school in Arlington, VA.  The “girl next door”, Judy, and her sister in Arlington were  sweet, gentle souls.  But I was traumatized when we were out collecting lightening bugs in the yard as children.  They would pinch the butts off lightening bugs to make glowing earrings and other jewelry.  I think Judy just recently redeemed herself.  She sent me a “bugs as food” article.  And she wrote, “I just might have to give crickets a try.”  Bugs are still on the “giving” end of the stick, but she is now considering what value bugs have as an important food source, one that is I think ethically, nutritionally, and environmentally sound.

Romney Elementary  5th grade teacher, Carrie Leigh, and her principal, Patty Lipps,  allowed me to come talk about entomophagy.  Carrie wrote: “Thank you Steve Bailes for coming to our school today and educating the third, fourth, and fifth graders (and their teachers) on the benefits of eating bugs!!!!!  I think you convinced Jess Barger to have bug snacks once a week!!!!!  Marleigh (Carrie’s pup) was thrilled with her Crisket [Hopn Bakery treat] !!!”  Jess Barger’s Photos on Facebook 

Over 150 students grades 3-5 and staff gave ear to the many benefits of entomophagy.  I shared some new images of some of my new bug dishes.  These were by and large greeted with loud exclamations of disgust.  But at the conclusion, lots of students wanted to sample the insect products I displayed.  I regretted denying their request, but I did tell them they could join me at a Bug Banquet, 6 PM, Thursday, Feb. 17 at the Capon Bridge Community Center.  (I am requesting R.S.V.P.s)

Many of the insect product companies sent stickers, business cards, or leaflets.  The students acted like it was a big deal to get these– like baseball cards?  I displayed products such as Aspire (Facebook: Aspire Food Group Aketta Facebook ), Bitty Foods – bitty cricket flour Facebook:  Bitty FoodsBug Eater Foods Jump Cricket Protein (shakes). Facebook page , Chapul protein bars UT,  Facebook: Chapul,Chloe’s Treats Facebo ok: chloesdogtreats Stamford, CT; Crik Nutrition – Cricket Protein Powder , Manitoba,  Facebook: CRIKNutrition  ,Cricket Flours Facebook: www.facebook.com/CricketFlour/ Portland, Oregon;  Critter Bitters or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Critterbitters/  NY; Entobento web or Facebook, Chris Glascoe, Chris Mahlberg (sales) Use promo code ENTOTREAT for free shipping. Entomarket  (Entosense, Bill Broadbeat) Entomophagy Ambassador,  Facebook:  Bugs for Dinner  Exo Protein bars Brooklyn, NY,  Facebook: Exo   Protein bars; Fluker’s,  Hopn Bakery  pet food, CA; Hopper Foods HOTLIX Candy Store www.hotlix.com/ CA; IncredibleFoodsFacebook page Fort Worth, TX;  Jurassic Snacks Inc. Facebook:  Jurassic Snacks Inc.  , Iceland; Lithic Nutrition,  Facebook, CO;  NextMilleniumFarms, EntomoFarms  and Cricket Flours  Edible Insects,   Ontario; Six Foods Chirps  Facebook Chirps Chips ; Thailand Unique and Little Herds , Austin, TX.


Bugs on the Menu, “It’s a keeper.”

Alli came by recently.  I had some pumpkin, tomato, corn basil mealworm stew on the stove.  I offered to let her try it.  She surprised me.  She was fine with trying the mealworms, but she didn’t like pumpkin– in any form.

Allison is a young lady of many talents.  She is in her last semester at West Virginia Wesleyan College.  She is quite a chef, and I actually would have predicted that she would have become a professional chef.  Instead,  her interests have steered her more toward business.

So my mealworm stew was a no-go.  But how about a milkshake made with cricket protein powder?  Allison Brill posted “I had a wonderful afternoon spent with Steve and Terry. As with anyone who visits, Steve always offers his “special” food. Terry assured me that I really didn’t have to give in and try anything, but I was curious and a [Bugeater Foods] Chocolate Cricket Milkshake sounded not half bad. Steve, this recipe is a keeper!”

Terry Lynn and I host a “neighborhood” breakfast on Martin Luther King Day.  I got to fix cric-kakes (pancakes made with Aspire, Cricket Flours, and Bitty Foods cricket flour.)  Some insect based foods have a distinct taste and texture.  Usually people are just surprised that the pancakes “aren’t really different.”  It sems that much of the excitement with cricket flour products comes when the person learns all the advantages– benefits for individual health, benefits for our envioronment, benefits for those tackling the problem of feeding a rapidly growing world population.  Sebastian Donner’s verdict: “The cricket pancakes were delicious.”

How Do You Stuff a Cricket?

The Cumberland area C&O Canal educational staff gathered for an end of the year party at Canal Place.  This was a potluck dinner, and Ranger Rita assured me I was allowed to bring bugs.  Terrty Lynn also attended and took non-bug dishes.

I have really enjoyed working with the National Park Service C&O Canal staff and the other CCC (Canal Classroom Corp) staff.  Seeing the excitement from the kids (and adults) when they get to spend a day in this outdoor classroom is very rewarding.

Back to the dinner…  I was excited to try a new bug product.  Bugeater Foods  recently donated a new product, Brown Cricket Rice.  The generous donation (along with a bag of Jump cricket protein) was in support of a local Food Pantry (Capon Bridge, WV). They aren’t even marketing it yet.  This seemed so fitting.  I believe insect products can help feed the growing world population.  (By the way, the generous donations and bidders at the Rain Crow’s 4th Annual Food Pantry Benefit yielded thousands for the hungry in our community.)

Again, back to the dinner… I used the cricket rice (20% cricket) to make hosomaki sushi rolls.  The sushi also contained wax worm larva.  Seth Myers and Kim Greist tried the tried the sushi and gave good reviews.

I have not “won over” Dave Long, a CCC  colleague,  to entomophagy (eating bugs).  He wanted to know, “Just what do you use to stuff a roast cricket?”  Actually the answer is extensive.  Companies who are raising crickets are feeding crickets with varied diets such as basil.  The insects I eat typically taste like what they eat.  So I like the thought that I can feed that cricket on sage and other spices before I roast him for the holiday feast.  (Save me the drumstick.)

By the way, if you would like to join the CCC to help present educational programs to school groups, check out this page.  (The hot link.  Not an ad.)