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'I’m out there trying to get people to eat bugs': The Cricket Ticket

When you drive past the building on Conger Street in West Eugene, you probably don’t realize there is a farm inside. And that is a point for Craft Crickets Inc.: to show that farming can take place in an urban setting. Take "The Cricket Ticket" #LiveOnKMTR NBC 16 at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, to learn more about the farm. Then on Thursday morning, July 6, watch In the Kitchen #LiveOnKMTR NBC 16 TODAY at 6:30 a.m. for a recipe using crickets as ingredients.

EUGENE, Ore. - When you drive past the building on Conger Street in West Eugene, you probably don’t realize there is a farm inside.

And that is a point for Craft Crickets Inc., to show that farming can take place in an urban setting. Austin Miller is the founder and Chief Cricket Guy for the company that raises crickets for human consumption.

As our world population grows, there is concern over the ability to find alternative, sustainable food sources. Cricket farming takes a minimal amount of space and requires less energy than traditional protein sources. Also, with a shorter lifespan, more crickets can be harvested.

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The eating of insects as a food source is not a new idea, but the concept hasn’t gained much traction in Western culture. Miller admits convincing people to consume insects is a hurdle.

Miller says, “The hardest thing is getting people over the psychological hurdle. We’ve been told our whole life don’t eat bugs. And now I’m out there trying to get people to eat bugs.”

But crickets have plenty of nutritional advantages. They offer a good source of protein as well as essential amino acids and iron. And to my surprise, the flavor is somewhat bland. However, Miller says he can change the flavor profile with their food. When available, the crickets get fruits and vegetables to give them a sweeter flavor.

Miller sells his crickets at the Farmers Market and online. Unseasoned bags of the crickets can be purchased, but he also sells seasoned varieties.

WATCH | Cooking with Crickets

For more on Craft Crickets, go to craftcrickets.com.

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