KEYSTONE, Ia. — Like many farmers, Becky Herman bounces from enclosure to enclosure, feeding and watering her livestock.
There are thousands of them, but Herman knows some well enough to assign them human traits. Those two over there are bullies, she says.
And though she’s new at this gig, Herman has already learned not to name her stock, lest she grow too attached.
While farmers are no rarity in this eastern Iowa town of 600, Herman’s operation stands alone. Her farm, the Iowa Cricket Farmer, is the state’s first insect farm growing critters for the purposes of human consumption.
It’s believed to be among a handful of cricket farms across the country capitalizing on a trend of health-conscious foodies munching on insects.
The farm’s 50,000 to 60,000 crickets have been raised so far to be breeders. Herman expects to deliver the first batch bound for human stomachs this summer.
They’ll be sent to Salt Lake City and ground into cricket flour for Chapul, the maker of cricket protein bars and protein powder made famous on the television show “Shark Tank.”
While there is inherent novelty to the operation, the Iowa Cricket Farmer looks more like a science lab than a playground.
The crickets’ diets (all organic) are carefully controlled. The water they’re given has been purified through reverse osmosis. And the temperature and humidity are closely managed.
Read Kevin Hardy’s article in The Des Moines Register