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Hey LA: You're Going To Be Eating a Lot of Crickets Very, Very Soon

Bugs for all!

Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Oh San Fernando Valley, you never fail to deliver on being weird and wonderful in equal measure. Case in point: yesterday’s word from the Los Angeles Daily News that Los Angeles' northern neighbor Van Nuys will soon be home to California’s very first cricket farm. You know, for eating.

It’s actually a smart take on the growing problem of animal protein production, which is (not just in California, but globally) consuming far too many resources to be continually sustainable. Simply put, the world needs to eat less meat but still be able to get the proteins they need. Enter crickets, a protein-rich, totally sustainable, and absolutely abundant option within our greater food chain.

Beyond whole fried crickets with the legs attached or other such  options that might be slightly off-putting to Western palates, the little buggers have as of late been milled into flour suitable for all sorts of baking purposes, and lots of other uses are being engineered all the time. Elliot Mermel, the 25-year-old who’s bringing all those crickets to Van Nuys, says that L.A.’s forward-thinking consumers should be ready to embrace the new cricket-eating lifestyle without too much fuss. After all, two billion people worldwide already eat insects routinely.

With a six week start-to-finish maturity cycle and over 7,000 square feet of warehouse space, Mermel’s Coalo Valley Farms should be able to produce many, many thousands of edible crickets in no time at all. Of course, there’s going to be a Kickstarter involved along the way, should you feel like throwing some cash behind the buggy solution to one of the world’s biggest problems.