MOUNTAIN LIFE - Blue Mountains | Summer 2019

86 words & photos :: Colin Field After 12 years in Brooklyn, New York, Joe Shouldice and his family decided to pack it in, and sell everything. Joe and his wife bought an Airstream and spent a year travelling all over North America. Originally from Toronto, they assumed they’d end up back there, working as designers again, only this time a little closer to family. But slowly, the idea of starting a cricket farm began to percolate. “The cricket thing started as a joke,” says Shouldice. “Honestly, I feel like in early 2000 I first heard about it and I think I was passively interested. Then in 2013 the UN put out a report saying by 2050, we’ll have 2 billion more people and we can’t feed them chickens and cows and pigs the same way. It’s not physically possible with land. So crickets are one thing to alleviate this. It’s not a magic bullet, but it’ll help a lot. So I started looking into it more and more. And I think career wise, I’d been a designer for 15 years and wasn’t sure I wanted to do the same thing for the next 15. I was ready for a new challenge.” That new challenge is his cricket farm, Yes Crickets in Owen Sound. The non-descript storefront is in an industrial strip on the east end of town. It doesn’t look like anything unusual from outside. But inside, he’s raising crickets for human consumption. He got the space in October of 2018 and has been farming crickets ever since. The hot, well-lit room features two shelves with 16 2x2x2-ft. boxes. Each box has between 7,000-8,000 crickets in it. He’s hoping to have about 1.2 million crickets at all times once he irons a few “bugs” out. He’s the first to admit, he still has a lot to learn. Beside the room that serves as a farm, is an inspected commercial kitchen. It’s here that he harvests the little critters by putting them in a freezer. “In nature, say it gets a little chilly at night, like below zero, they’ll basically hibernate,” says Shouldice. “There’s no sign of life. If they’re not there too long, and it warms up, they’ll come back to life. So it happens naturally; we’re assuming it’s totally painless. So we just put them in the freezer and leave them there longer, so then they’re just dead.” SAYING YES TO CRICKETS Unsure if eating insects is the future? Talk to Joe Shouldice and dig in FOOD