Charlottetown — After recent news that Loblaw’s stores will be selling crickets for human consumption, Canada’s smallest province doesn’t want to be outdone by “Big Insect” and has opted to market their own form of edible insect: the potato bug.
The Prince Edward Island Potato Board announced plans today to harvest and package the bugs beginning in the growing season of 2018.
“There has been a huge demand for Island potatoes, and for farmers to go pesticide-free,” said board spokesperson Niles Gallant. “Letting the bugs run wild all growing season, then harvesting and selling them as an edible product helps achieve this goal.”
He went on to say that in order to harvest the critters from the leaves, combines will have to be fitted with special rakes that scoop them up. “And from the field we’ll take them to be washed and processed for sale.”
Several flavours and formats are planned for the once-pest of P.E.I., including a Raspberry Cordial protein shake made from ground-up potato bugs. “If Anne used protein shakes THIS would be her brand!” beamed Gallant, who added that he is most excited about being able to offer a product unique to Prince Edward Island.
“Yeah they have potato bugs elsewhere, but we’re going to be the first to start eating them, and that’s something special.”
An eager Premier Wade MacLauchlan weighed in on the idea in an email to The Manatee. “I’m really hoping that this project helps Islanders see that their provincial Liberals love them and want what’s best for them. I fully endorse this (insert project here) initiative and want it to succeed.”
Islanders themselves are interested in the project, saying that potato bugs will “taste way better” than crickets or cricket powder.
“Stir-fry ’em or just crunch ’em raw — I think it’ll be a snack on par with dulse in New Brunswick or donairs in Nova Scotia,” said farmer and bug enthusiast Ray Keeler. “I never thought of eating them, growing up, but it makes sense. We always drowned them in oil to get rid of them, but now I see that that was just wasteful.
“And anyway, they look delicious, don’t they?”