Practically everyone has entertained the idea of a new start at some time or another. For a long time, Roope Päivänen and his wife had wanted to turn their backs on their hectic city lives.
In 2018, Päivänen saw a colleague editing a film about crickets. Then an opportunity arose to start a cricket farm in the southern Finnish town of Karjaa, halfway between Helsinki and Turku. He took it without hesitation.
“Growing crickets is a good idea,” says Päivänen. “It’s a future food and a future industry.”
He raises as many as several million insects at a time in rows of plastic boxes in a climate-controlled room. An array of shelves holds 300 boxes; the crickets’ lifecycle lasts 35 to 45 days. He feeds them a special fermented mixture of spent grain from a local brewery and leftover vegetables from supermarkets.
Cricket-based cuisine as climate action
Watch the video to see Roope’s cricket dishes and find out how his life in the countryside is going.Video: Erika Benke/ThisisFINLAND.fi
Naturally, Roope is on a mission to win people over and introduce them to eating crickets. He believes that cutting back on red meat and putting insects on our plates in its place is an important part of fighting climate change.
He readily admits that it’s challenging to convince consumers to choose cricket-based food. However, he says there’s a solution: dishes with no visible insects.
“We need to be more creative and prepare real meals out of them, rather than just frying them whole and serving them as a snack,” he says.
“I’ve been doing kebabs and lasagne and cricket burgers. All my friends’ kids loved it.” This bodes well – children are, of course, notoriously picky eaters.
By Erika Benke, October 2022