We got questions for Albinsecta! Interviewing our cricket farmer, Folkert De Jong.

How did you end up owning a cricket farm?
We came up with the idea of a cricket farm in 2016. This stems from a long story. My father has been a chicken farmer for over 30 years and my brother and I were eager to continue with the family business. We had two choices. Were we going to do more of the same? Or were we going to do something completely different? Like most people, we had heard of the story of insects before. With the growing world population, we saw that we cannot continue to feed the world with the current food system. So we had to start looking for alternatives. That's when we realised the benefits of the cricket. We got into it as a family business and built a whole new cricket farm. As we went along, we started to develop it further and further! 

Why did you choose crickets and not other insects?
First of all, because crickets are the best insects in terms of nutritional values. They have the highest percentage of protein and amino acids etc. The second reason is our love for farming. We think the cricket is more fun than a mealworm or a grasshopper or something similar. So we thought that as farmers, crickets would just be the most pleasant.

Aren’t crickets very noisy? How do you sleep at night?
I sleep very well, because I always get the feeling I'm in the south of France. So that's going very well! It is the males who chirp. They do so with their wings to seduce the females!

What do crickets taste like?
Crickets have a mild, nutty flavour. If you prepare them in the oven, with a little seasoning, then you just get a really tasty snack.

What do crickets eat on the farm?
The crickets are fed a dried mix of grains. They are also given water, of course. And that is it, actually. It's not very complicated.

How old do the crickets get?
At our farm, a cricket lives to be around 40 days old. It's the same as in nature. They live here under such conditions that are ideal for them, so they can grow quickly. We harvest them only when they would also come to die in a natural way. So they live their lives fully.

How many babies does a cricket mommy give birth to?
Wooh! Crickets are very fertile. They lay around 200-300 eggs per day. 

How can you tell the difference between a male and female cricket?
You can see the difference if you look at their butts! The females have a black stripe on their butts. That is called the ovipositor. They use the ovipositor to lay their eggs. And the males don't have this. 

Do crickets experience pain?
According to some studies, crickets cannot experience pain. How come? Well, they have quite a short life cycle. As I already mentioned before, crickets live for around 40 days. Therefore, over the years, with the help of evolution, they have managed to eliminate that pain. For example, if they are 20 days old and they break a leg, they do not have a month to recover from that. So they have to move on because their task is to multiply themselves. That's why they have managed to eliminate pain.

What’s your favourite cricket recipe?
The whole crickets or the powdered form?
- You can choose!
If we're talking about whole crickets, I find Glorious Garlic to be the best flavour, to eat as a snack. I really like those. And in powder form I find... Uhm.. That's a good question.
- Bitterballen or croquettes maybe?
Yes, it's actually all so good! Well, at the moment, in it's powdered form, I like KRIKET's bars the most!