Iowa woman's edible cricket business is hopping

STORY COUNTY, Iowa- Shelby Smith, who started an edible cricket business (Gym-N-Eat Crickets) on her parents' farm near Ames this year, says she started with 10,000 and how has about 250,000 crickets, and has been selling them for human consumption at farmers markets.   She also uses cricket "powder" as an ingredient in high protein bars.

"Crickets are 60 protein by dry weight, have more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, they are a good source of vitamin B12 and have a nice omega-6 to omega-3 profile as well," Smith told WHO Radio News.   

Smith admits some customers at the Ames Farmers market this year were receptive, and eager to try the cricket-products, and others were "bugged out" by the idea, and didn't hesitate to tell her they were disgusted by the idea either.   She says she doesn't get discouraged by that, because she says there's a growing market for crickets for human consumption, especially among elite athletes.  She says crickets are also more acceptable as a food item in other countries.

Smith tells WHO Radio News she keeps the crickets in two insulated, heated, and sound-proof rooms in farm outbuildings, in large buckets covered with screens.  She says they do make a racket, but finds the chorus of chirping to be soothing.


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