Big Cricket Farms – the only farm in America to raise crickets exclusively for human consumption
Big Cricket Farms holds nearly six million crickets in a compact, urban setting, raising and slaughtering them without a single complaint from the next-door neighbors.
By Nicola Twilley
September 16, 2014
Big Cricket Farms, of Youngstown, Ohio, opened six months ago. It is the first (and, so far, only) farm in America to raise crickets exclusively for human consumption. The farm, which was founded by Kevin Bachhuber, is housed in a formerly abandoned warehouse in the Rust Belt city. Inside, several hundred white reinforced fibreglass troughs sit on the floor, housing between three thousand and four thousand crickets each.
For a meat eater accustomed to choosing free-range over battery chickens, the sight of a seething, twitching mass of brown legs and antennae on the floor of Big Cricket Farms raises a tricky question: Are these crickets happy living in a fibreglass trough? How would one even know?
“That’s one of the things that’s so great about crickets,” Harman Johar, the founder of the food-cricket company World Ento, told me. “They don’t need music or rubdowns or anything.” According to Bachhuber, crickets have only a few basic requirements for feeling safe and at home: an ambient temperature that hovers between eighty and ninety degrees Fahrenheit, ninety per cent humidity, and some cardboard or egg cartons to climb on. Overcrowding can cause stress—the sign to watch out for, Bachhuber said, is cannibalism—which is why he houses no more than four thousand insects in each four-foot-square trough. Filtered water and an organic grain-based diet, supplemented with occasional cabbage and parsley, round out the amenities.