Last Chance Foods

Last Chance Foods

From WNYC Radio

Last Chance Foods covers produce that's about to go out of season, gives you a heads up on what's still available at the farmers market and tells you how to keep it fresh through the winter.More from Last Chance Foods »

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Learning to Farm: Resources


GrowNYC’s Farm Beginnings — a comprehensive agricultural training program developed for new farmers by the people who run the Greenmarket. Designed for a people looking to start farm enterprises, including urban farmers looking to scale-up and second career farm entrepreneurs.  

Brooklyn Grange hosts a whole range of workshops and classes for rooftop farmers. If a full roof installation process is more than you want to take on, their Design and Installation arm will build you your very own backyard or terrace garden, rooftop farm, or green wall. 

Just Food’s Farm School NYC   urban agriculture training through a certificate program and a wide range of individual courses from social justice to urban farming to grassroots community organizing. Mission: to build self-reliant communities and inspire positive local action around food access and social, economic, and racial justice issues. 

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities  — training towards certification in green roof and wall installation.

Eagle Street Farm — Greenpoint. This rooftop farm welcomes visitors from second graders to graduate students to learn about sky-high agriculture. 

Cornell Cooperative Extension   free gardening and farming support run by NYS with offices in every single county – including Manhattan. Offering everything from soil testing to 20c processing licenses. 


Stone Barns’ Growing Farmers Initiative   Westchester. Comprehensive program to help beginning farmers get the training, resources and guidance to create economically and ecologically resilient farm enterprises. Offers apprenticeships, a virtual grange, workshops on everything from beekeeping to seed saving, and an annual Young Farmers Conference which draws hundreds of beginning farmers from across the country and beyond. 

Glynwood’s Farm Incubator   Cold Spring. Provides the tools and resources aspiring agricultural entrepreneurs need to develop and manage viable farm enterprises in the Hudson Valley. Provides access to land, housing, shared equipment, infrastructure, low-interest capital, business mentoring and training in sustainable farming practices.


Cornell’s Beginning Farmers Program   a comprehensive clearing house of resources, internships, job postings and land opportunities.

Northeast Organic Farming Association  — This seven-state non-profit teaches, certifies and supports organic farms. Their semi-annual conferences offer sessions on everything from raw milk to fermentation to homesteading, complete with contra dancing and camping. 

The Greenhorns  — A unique resource helping young people make the transition into a career of farming. Provides information about everything from where to find an apprenticeship to how to repair a tractor. Complete with mentor matchmaker.  

National Young Farmers Coalition   represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers. Supports practices and policies to sustain young, independent and prosperous farmers now and in the future. Co-founded by an ex-Manhattanite who now grows organic vegetables in the Hudson. 

Richard Wiswall’s The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook   widely-prized bible on the business end of running a farm. Expert advice on how to make your vegetable production more efficient and how to better manage your employees and finances.

The USDA’s (great) new website for new farmers   Yes, even the USDA is focusing on new farmers. This site offers in-depth information on how to increase access to land and capital, build new market opportunities, participate in conservation opportunities, select and use risk management tools, and access USDA education and technical-support 

American Farmland TrustTransitioning Farmland to a New Generation   This longtime, stalwart non-profit is bringing its forces to bear for new farmers, offering everything from training to land links as well as targeted offerings for women landowners and conversation.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Become a Farmer

New Yorkers' interest in where their food comes from and how it is raised has led to a robust farmers' market system, a growing interest in communty gardens and backyard enterprises like raising chickens and keeping bees, and a surprising number of urbanites who are ditching their pots of basil on their fire escape to become farmers.

While there’s not what you’d call a mass exodus from New York City, there is a perceptible upward trend in the number of people wanting to learn more about agriculture.  With the number of farmers nationwide in decline, support programs are cropping up to help in that transition: Just Food runs Farm School NYC, the Stone Barns Center in Westchester County runs farmer training programs and hosts an annual sold-out Young Farmers Conference, and a growing number of other non-profits help new farmers find everything they need to take root — from land to capital to customers. 

Closer to home, Chris Wayne runs FARMroots, the new farmer development program at GrowNYC, the non-profit that manages New York City's Greenmarkets program. In their offices on Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan, they offer a USDA-funded, 10-week training class that Wayne said begins with a reality check:

“Can you spend 16 hours in 95 degree heat, working your tail off, for very little money?  That's the first question.”  

The question is intended to knock the stars out of people's eyes and get them to start thinking more realistically about farming.  But Wayne said dreaming is still necessary, and is encouraged.

"One of the first things we have [students] do," said Wayne, "is look deep into their own values: Why are they interested in starting a farm business, and what's going to be that core, central piece that they can look back on at Hour 15 on their farm, and say  'This is why I'm doing this, this is why this is important to me.'"

Once you figure the why, Wayne said it's time to consider the what, the produce or product sector that you want to get into.

  • What are you interested in growing, or raising? Wayne said people often come to the class already inspired by a vegetable or fruit that they had success with in their community or backyard gardens.  
  • What skills do you already have that you could utilize?  Wayne explained that farming requires "an incredibly wide range of skills," from welding to marketing plans to graphic design work for that perfect label that's going to sell your pickled green beans.  "You may not be coming to agriculture with a production skill, but there's probably a lot of other things that you don't realize, other skills and experiences that you already have, that are going to play into a successful farm business." 
  • Is there a niche you can fill with your farm product?  Wayne said beginning farmers can do their own market research.  "What do you see when you walk through a farmer's market?  Are there some products there that are lacking? What's one of the things that you can't seem to find?"

This Farm Beginnings course takes beginning farmers from mission statement to financial plan to marketing plan.  But it’s not all Excel spreadsheets. Wayne said it's also important for aspiring farmers to get out of the classroom and into the field.  He said farmers in the Northeast are increasingly accepting interns and apprentices who can earn a small stipend and learn on the job.  He said he believes that kind of experience, under the tutelage of an experience farmer, is essential in learning the "true art of agriculture."

"I always say, if I decided tomorrow that i wanted to be an electrician, would I walk into a house the next day, after reading a couple books, and try to set up a house with electricity? Of course not.  The same is true with agriculture." 

Wayne said that at the end of the course, if participants decide they want to keep their office day job after all, he considers that as much of a success as helping to launch a Future Farmer.  "We really want folks who are devoted to this to get out into farms," he said.

Check out our Farm School Resources Page for more farming classes, literature about starting a farm and organizations that connect aspiring farmers with internship opportunities.

Last Chance Foods: Stay Cool, Drink Real Food

It’s the high season for cool, slushy drinks. Nina Planck, author of several Real Food cookbooks, says her fermented watermelon basil cooler illustrates one of her key principles: when she processes food, she does it in ways that enhance nutrition, flavor, and shelf life. 

Nina Planck / photo by  Katherine Wolkoff

Nina's recipe for fermented watermelon basil cooler (Makes two quarts)


  • 8–10 lb watermelon
  • 8–10 Meyer lemons
  • small bunch of Genovese basil
  • 1/4 c organic whole cane sugar
  • 1/4 c fresh whey
  • 1 T unrefined sea salt
  • 3 c water
  1. Make 3 cups of watermelon juice in a blender or food processor. Don’t strain the pulp.
  2. Squeeze 1 cup of lemon juice.
  3. Take 1/2 cup of basil leaves and gently bruise them using a mortar and pestle to release the oil.
  4. Put all the ingredients in a 2-quart glass jar, cover with water, and close the lid tightly.
  5. Stir and leave out at room temperature for 3 days. Allow a little carbonation to escape when necessary and replace the cap firmly. Chill and serve. Keeps up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Last Chance Foods: Stay Cool, Drink Real Food

Last Chance Foods: The Ultimate Pickled, Smoked, Smashed, Fried Potato Salad

by David LeiteLeite's Culinaria

Serves 4 to 6

For the anchovy aioli

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 6 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup grapeseed oil

For the smoked pickled potatoes

  • 2 pounds small red new potatoes, 1 to 1 1/2 in diameter, scrubbed and rinsed
  • Sea salt
  • 4 cups malt vinegar
  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Dust the garlic with a bit of salt and, using the flat side of your knife’s blade, rub the salt back and forth into the garlic to make a paste.

2. Add the garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, and egg yolks to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.

3. Slowly drizzle a few drops of the oil into the bowl while whisking vigorously until the mixture is smooth. Add the rest of the oil in a thin stream, all the while whisking until smooth and light yellow. Season with salt.

4. Add the potatoes to a large pot and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Add the salt, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook gently until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and water. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and then add them the the ice water. Let them sit until cooled completely.

6. Drain the potatoes and prick each potato deeply with a toothpick or thin metal skewer numerous times all over. Pour the vinegar into a medium bowl and add in the potatoes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the potatoes hang out on the counter in their pickling bath overnight or for at least 8 hours.

7. Following manufacturer’s instructions, set up your smoker, smoker box, charcoal grill, or gas grill for cold smoking using sawdust, chips, chunks, or Bradley bisquettes. You make a makeshift smoker by heating a cast iron skillet until very hot, placing it on your turned-off grill, adding wood chips, and closing the cover.

8. Smoke the potatoes, making sure to keep the temperature under 100°F (38°C), for 1 hour. Remove the potatoes from the smoker. You can refrigerate the potatoes for several hours or you can immediately fry them.

9. Pour enough peanut oil into a heavy pot so that it reaches a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil to 375°F, using a deep-fry or candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. While the oil is heating, place the potatoes on a flat work surface and smash them with the palm of your hand just until they crack and split.

10. Fry the potatoes in batches, making sure the heat never goes below 350°F, until the potatoes are golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to paper towels to drain and season with sea salt and pepper. Serve immediately with plenty of the aioli on the side.

Last Chance Foods: The Ultimate Pickled, Smoked, Smashed, Fried Potato Salad

Last Chance Foods: A Compromise for Cilantro Haters?

Cilantro could very well be the world’s most polarizing herb. Those who vehemently hate it may have the aversion coded in their genes, while others happily add it to everything from salsas to soups. But maybe there’s a middle ground to be found in the cilantro wars. Perhaps cilantro’s cousin culantro is the herb diplomat to please both parties.

Culantro, with its long, narrow, slightly serrated leaves, is popularly used in Latin and Caribbean cuisine. “Culantro has kind of the base flavor of cilantro but it’s much earthier,” journalist and food writer Von Diaz explained. “It’s much more tame. It almost tastes like a hybrid of cilantro and parsley." 

She described culantro as the cornerstone herb of Puerto Rican food. “We use it extensively in making what’s called ‘racaito,’ which is a component of sofrito, which I’m sure a lot of people have heard of,” Diaz said. “It’s basically a spice paste blend that’s garlic, onions, culantro, and peppers, which you then turn into a paste. You cook it down and it becomes really the base of whatever dish you’re making.”

Von Diaz
Von Diaz

Culantro, which can be grown in containers, has the added benefit of holding up better than cilantro in longer cooking methods. Diaz recommends adding a few leaves to beans and stewed meats, for instance. “It goes really well with things that you can cook for a while,” she said.

Diaz also offered a recipe for culantro pesto, which can be used to season chicken salad. Both recipes are below.

Any cilantrophobes out there who can report back on their reaction to culantro? Tell us your take on whether culantro is an acceptable substitute.

Culantro Pesto
by Von Diaz

  • 1 cup culantro leaves, stems removed (packed)
  • 2 T pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan and/or pecorino romano
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Grind garlic, salt, and pine nuts in a food processor. Add olive oil and culantro, and process until smooth. Add cheese and pulse to incorporate.

Chicken Salad with Culantro Pesto
by Von Diaz

  • 4 cups poached chicken (2 large breasts)
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth or water
  • 2-4 T mayonnaise
  • Juice from 1 small lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6-8 T culantro pesto

Put chicken breasts in a saucepan and cover with broth or water. Bring pot to a boil, then remove from the burner. Cover and let sit for 17 minutes. Remove from liquid and let cool, then shred with two forks or by hand.

Mix in mayonnaise, lime juice, and culantro pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Last Chance Foods: A Compromise for Cilantro Haters?

Last Chance Foods: A Kid-Friendly Fruit for Healthy Eating

The Bronx has a weight problem, and part of that stems from parents who simply don’t know how to cook. Chef and educator Tania Lopez knows about that situation firsthand. She grew up in the South Bronx and in Puerto Rico, and says that her parents rarely cooked for her as a child.

“They were constantly working all the time and they didn’t have time to cook for me,” Lopez explained. “So I didn’t have a chance to really taste food from all over the world. And I always felt like I was left out of something.” She was determined to change that after she had children and moved back to Puerto Rico. Step one: Lopez turned to the community of women around her and started asking questions.

“I was very lucky to have moms that love to cook for their children and share their ideas,” she said. Having discovered the passion for home cooking and healthy eating, Lopez started Coqui the Chef, an initiative based in the South Bronx that promotes healthier alternatives to traditional Latino food. A big part of the organization’s mission is to introduce kids to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Lopez says that there’s one fruit that is often big hit with the kids she teaches: avocados. (Photo: Tania Lopez/Courtesy of Tania Lopez)

“It’s amazing—many of them haven’t tasted avocados,” Lopez said, adding that the fruit grows in abundance in Puerto Rico. “So we decided to add some tomato, cilantro, a little bit of onions, and some whole wheat chips, and they were like ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ They loved it... They love mashing. Who doesn’t doesn’t love mashing?”

More to the point: Who doesn’t love guacamole?

A crucial part of making delicious guacamole is picking out perfectly ripe avocadoes. Lopez first makes sure the fruit isn’t too bruised and soft. Then she examines the area where the avocado was cut from the tree.

“The stem, I flip it off. If I see that it’s... light greenish, then I said this right,” she explained. “But I’m kind of picky with it so I wait for it [to be] light green almost brown. But when it’s very green, I still think it needs half a day.”

One way to get the fruit to ripen faster is to put it in a paper bag and store it in a turned-off oven. A day later, she said, the avocado will be ripe.

While there are more than 30 different variety of avocados — including the smooth-skinned, light green variety known as “West Indian avocados" — Lopez recommend using the rough-skinned, dark green Hass variety for guacamole. Her kid-friendly recipe is below.

Recipe for Kid-Friendly Guacamole


  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • juice of ¼ of lime
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced (optional)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion (optional)
  • ¼ cup diced jalapeno (optional)


Combine all ingredients in pilon (mortar and pestle) and mash until desired consistency is achieved. Serve immediately or chilled if preferred.

Avocado benefits: Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.

Last Chance Foods: A Kid-Friendly Fruit for Healthy Eating

Last Chance Foods: Radishes Are the Real Fast Food

Here’s a fun project for kids and apartment dwellers: Plant a radish seed in a pot, care for it, and then 25 to 30 days later, you should be able to harvest a fully grown vegetable.

When it comes to farming, a month’s time is as close to instant gratification as you can get, said Edible Manhattan editor Gabrielle Langholtz. She’s the author of The New Greenmarket Cookbook, which includes recipes from New York chefs and profiles of area farmers.

“[Radishes in the spring] are much milder and very quick to grow and prepare,” Langholtz explained. “So that’s one of the reasons they’re… one of the very first things we see.”

The bright red Cherry Belle and French breakfast radishes in season right now are an ideal complement to the bounty of leafy greens also available at the farmers market. They are crisp and tend to be milder than their fall counterparts.

“The varieties that you will buy at the greenmarket in the fall and going into winter are different varieties that have been bred for centuries for different qualities: long growing, cooler growing, better keeping,” said Langholtz. (Photo: Gabrielle Langholtz, Craig Haney, and their daughter/Anita Briggs)

The spring radishes add color and crunch to salads and make for a great quick pickle. Langholtz recommends using them in the recipe below for Sugar Snap Pea and Whipped-Ricotta Tartines. “It’s an open-faced sandwich that’s wonderfully light and fresh and delicious,” she said. “And talk about fast food. I mean, you can make it in a few minutes.”

Sugar Snap Pea and Whipped-Ricotta Tartines
by Dana Cowin, Editor in Chief, Food & Wine

Spring brings three kinds of peas—shell, snow, and snap. The first, as the name implies, must be shelled, but the other two have sweet, crunchy pods which the French call mange tout, meaning “eat it all.”

But “eat it all” can have an even broader pea meaning: The plant’s tender shoots are also perfectly edible, raw or cooked, and carry the true flavor of peas.

Here the pods and plants are served together, along with radishes, atop a tartine—or French open-faced sandwich—that’s at once creamy and light, rustic and elegant.

  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Four ½-inch-thick slices of peasant bread
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • ½ pound sugar snap peas, ends trimmed and strings discarded
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup snipped pea shoots
  • 3 large radishes, cut into thin matchsticks
  • About ⅓ cup crushed red pepper, for garnish

In a medium bowl, using a whisk, whip the ricotta with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a grill pan. Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil. Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until toasted but still chewy in the middle, about 2 minutes. Rub the toasts with the garlic clove and season with salt and pepper.

Prepare an ice water bath. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the snap peas until bright green, about 1 minute. Transfer the snap peas to the ice bath to cool. Drain and pat dry, then thinly slice lengthwise.

In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar with the shallot, mustard, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the snap peas, pea shoots, and radishes; season with salt and pepper; and toss to coat. Spread the whipped ricotta on the toasts and top with the snap pea slaw. Garnish with crushed red pepper and serve.


From The New Greenmarket Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

Last Chance Foods: Radishes Are the Real Fast Food

Last Chance Foods: Foraging for One of the World's Healthiest Greens

The cool weather this spring means that farmers markets may be looking surprisingly bare for late May. Parks and forests, however, are already bursting with life — and tasty, nutritious finds for knowledgeable foragers.

One commonly foraged favorite is lambsquarters. The leafy green grows in sunny meadows, college campuses, and even between the sidewalk cracks in Brooklyn. Forager Ava Chin might ogle the hearty specimens shooting up along city streets, but she admitted that she stays away from eating plants growing in high-traffic areas.

Lambsquarters leaves taste like spinach, and Chin likes to sauté them with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. In her new memoir Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal, she describes feeling like Popeye upon trying it for the first time.

“Lambsquarters has the distinction of being one of the most nutritious plants in the world,” Chin said. “It is a member of the chenopodium family, which means that it’s related to quinoa, spinach, and beets. It’s high in vitamins A and C. It’s also high in things like riboflavin, niacin, potassium, calcium, and manganese.”

The leafy, stalky plant is a sustainable choice for foragers since it is highly adaptable to various climates. “It’s actually not native to the United States,” said Chin. “It’s native to the Mediterranean and Asia, where, by the way, it’s a revered vegetable in Greek, Persian, and Bangladeshi cuisine.”

(Photo: Ava Chin/Owen Brunette)

Another important advantage of lambsquarters is that there are no poisonous look-alikes. The leaves on the tall stalky plant are triangular and give it the common name of “white goosefoot.” It’s also known as “pigweed,” and those in the U.K. might recognize it from the name “fat hen.”

“Another characteristic besides the leaves is that it has this white, powdery coating on the new growth, up at the top of the plant, and also at the bottom of the top leaves,” explained Chin. That coating is naturally produced by lambsquarters and has no effect on its edibility.

So the next time you see a tall stalk with triangular leaves and a white powdery coating on the new growth, give it a second look, positively identify it, and then give it a try in the kitchen.

“One of the great things about foraging and being in touch with nature in the city is you start to realize that there’s a great abundance of natural things that are growing all around us on every block, on every street, in every borough,” says Chin. “Nature really likes to rub its elbows against the city and, for me, that’s the interesting thing about foraging.”

Lambsquarters Ricotta Pie
Adapted from the "Wild Greens Pie" recipe in Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal 


Pie pastry, enough for base and latticework topping


  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cups of lambsquarters
  • 1 cup of spinach, Swiss chard, or store-bought dandelions, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mustard greens, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano (can substitute Parmesan)
  • ½ grated fontina cheese (or any other good melting cheese you prefer)
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 egg white, optional
  • 1 teaspoon water, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Press pastry into a 10-inch diameter springform pan. Build pastry up wall of pan at least 1½ inches tall.

2. In a pan over medium flame, heat 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Add the garlic until lightly browned (3 minutes), and sauté the onions about another 3 minutes. Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil, then mix in the wild and store-bought greens, salt, and pepper. Sauté until all liquid from the greens evaporates, about 3 minutes.

3. Combine the ricotta, romano, fontina, mozzarella, and eggs in a large bowl. Add the wild greens mixture, blending well.

4. Spoon the filling into the pastry-covered pan. Cut the remaining pastry into thin strips and weave into a latticework topping; place over pie, trimming edges. Mix the egg white with water and brush over pastry, if using. Bake until the filling is set in center and browning on top, approximately 40 minutes.

Last Chance Foods: Foraging for One of the World's Healthiest Greens

Last Chance Foods: Eat a Cricket, Save the Planet

For Rose Wang, it all started with a scorpion street snack in China. She bit into the insect on a dare and was surprised.

“[It was] not what I expected,” says Wang, who went on to co-found the insect-based food company Six Foods with her Harvard classmates Laura D’Asaro and Meryl Natow. “It tasted really great and really made me think, ‘Okay, is there another way to eat protein that’s more sustainable?’” 

In particular, the entrepreneurs see crickets as a more sustainable source of protein. For one thing, the little chirpers are far less energy-intensive to raise. Here’s how the math breaks down: One pound of beef requires 2,000 gallons of water and 25 bags of feed. By comparison, one pound of cricket protein can be produced with 1 gallon of water and 2 bags of feed.  

“What’s so great about crickets is that it’s an animal protein, so it’s all nine essential amino acids,” Wang adds. “It’s also really high in calcium and a lot of other vitamins and minerals.”

She says the taste might even be vaguely familiar. “The way I describe it is [that] it tastes like shrimp without a fishy taste, so it is somewhat similar to a lot of the crustaceans that we’re used to eating,” Wang explained. “There is a difference in flavor profile, but it’s not bad.”

(Photo: "Chirp" cricket chips/Courtesy of Rose Wang)

While most everyone can agree that insects are the more environmentally friendly version of protein, there’s still the inescapable ick factor. The founders of Six Foods found that crickets presented people with the lowest barrier to entry. “When we presented people with different foods at the very beginning… we had mealworms, wax worms, hornworms, and then crickets… crickets were always the least scary,” Wang says.

Daniella Martin, the author of Edible: An Adventure Into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet, agrees. “Crickets are familiar, they have a reasonably good public image because of characters like Jiminy Cricket,” she says. “People are a lot less grossed out by something like a cricket versus something like a meal worm.”

Six Foods has gone one step further to make crickets into a non-scary, recognizable form: chips. The cricket chips, called “Chirps,” are made from cricket flour.

(Photo: Rose Wang and Laura D'Asaro)

Cute names and novelty aside, crickets could also be the most viable form of edible insects. “Crickets are also the only insect that’s produced at scale within the U.S.,” says Wang. “To us, if we can ease our supply chain and make sure we know where we’re getting our crickets from and we can go visit those farms and know exactly their process, that makes us feel better about the food that we’re using.”

What do you think? Have you ever eaten a bug and liked it? Could crickets and other insects be the protein source to save the planet?

Last Chance Foods: Eat a Cricket, Save the Planet

Recipe: Easter Wheat Pie

We're a little late to the game on this, but it still sounds tasty, so we're calling this a "Past Chance Foods" recipe. It comes from copy editor Francine Almash's mother, Victoria.

Easter Wheat Pie
by Victoria Almash

Makes filling for two pies

  • 1 can soaked wheat (one brand is Asti) or use the recipe* below for cooked wheat berries
  • 1.4 cup hot (scalded) milk
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • 1 ½ lbs ricotta
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 egg yolks (beaten)
  • 1 tbs. orange water
  • ¼ cup diced citron
  • ¼ cup diced orange peel
  • 4 egg whites (beaten stiff)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Pie crust enough for two pie shells and lattice work

In the scalded milk, mix can of wheat, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp sugar. Remove from heat, add citron and orange peel. Set aside.

Meanwhile prepare filling: Beat ricotta and cup of sugar. Then add 6 egg yolks, vanilla and orange water. Blend well. Stir in prepared wheat. Then fold in beaten egg whites.

Pour into pie shell. Arrange strips crisscross over filling to the edge. Roll bottom overhand up over the strips at the edge and flute heavily.

Bake in preheated oven (350 degrees) for 1 hour or until firm in the center.

Let cool with oven door open. Serve sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.

*Cooking with Wheat Berries
by Amber Waves Farm


  • 1 cup wheat berries (makes approximately 3 cups)
  • 1 tbs salt

Cooking: Add 1 cup wheat berries, 3 cups of water and a tablespoon of salt to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and bring to a simmer, then cook for 50 minutes or until wheat berries are soft and chewy. (For faster cook time and softer wheat berries, soak wheat berries in water overnight prior to cooking). Drain any excess water and transfer to a bowl to cool. Toss with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Storage: If not using immediately, store the cooked wheat berries in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. To reheat, put wheat berries in frying pan with splash of water, stirring over low heat until hot.

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