You’ve heard about bug-eating, right?
Even though we’re all eating bugs (and parts of bugs) pretty much every day of the year, there’s a growing entomophagy movement afoot to get more people to eat insects, including crickets and mealworms.
Two local organizations are at the forefront of this effort. The non-profit Little Herds has been around since 2012 and is now a co-host of the Austin Bug-Eating Festival, a 10-year-old summertime event that encourages the exploration of insects as food.
In 2014, Austin became the official home Aspire Food Group, an international company focused on producing and promoting the consumption of insects. In addition to a farm in Ghana, they run a cricket farm south of Austin that supplies insects to some of the many companies now making insect products. They also sell their own line of cricket flour and protein powder called Aketta.
But let’s great real: You’re here because eating bugs still seems like a crazy idea that’s maybe just crazy enough to do, especially for a Halloween party.
So, where do you find these little buggers? Little Herds offers a list of companies selling insect products, but you can also find some of the most established products, including Chapul, made famous on “Shark Tank,” at area stores, including Central Market.
Many of the products available on the market contain the insect powder and don’t look like bugs, but Aketta sells roasted crickets that are fun — to me, at least — to pop in your mouth, especially this time of year.
You can find those whole crickets at Ingredients, the small grocery store store on Manor Road that sells a handful of insect brands, including Chirps and Seek Foods. Wheatsville sometimes carries Chiridos, a cricket chip, and Fresh Plus and Natural Grocers have carried cricket bars, according to Robert Nathan Allen of Little Herds.
The local chocolate company Delysia makes a cricket bark, and La Condesa serves the classic Oaxacan dish of chapulines, but it’s a off-the-menu, request-only kind of thing, so you might call ahead.
Be sure to check out the FAQ on Little Herds’ site to find out about why people with a seafood allergy should be careful and how to make sure you’re getting insects raised for human consumption.