Entrepreneurs set to start edible cricket farm in Van Nuys

Rob Hayes Image
Friday, May 8, 2015
Entrepreneurs set to start edible cricket farm in Van Nuys
Three entrepreneurs are banking on Americans eating crickets to boost their business. The bugs are smashed into protein powder at Coala Valley Farms in Van Nuys.

VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Tucked away in an industrial park in Van Nuys, crickets are being raised in climate controlled nylon tents at Coala Valley Farms.

The three 25 year olds, who are behind the farm, are banking on Americans shifting to insects for their protein. Their crickets are ground into a fine powder that can be added to many recipes such as shakes, pasta and pizza crust.

An estimated 2 billion people around the world eat bugs on a regular basis, and these guys say relying on crickets instead of cattle can save a huge amount of water in drought-stricken California.

"You know a pound of beef from a cow takes 1,700 gallons of water. Here it's only one gallon," Maximillian Cunha said.

Coala Valley Farms has a 7,000 square foot facility, but they're only using a small corner of the place to house the crickets. They started out with 40,000 of the creaking bugs.

"We get about 1.2 to 1.5 million crickets per six weeks. We've got enough square footage to raise about 3.5 million," Elliot Mermel said.

The cricket guys hope to be officially up and running in a few weeks. It all depends on their Kickstarter campaign, which launches on Monday.