What do your insects eat?
Our insects eat a range of vegetable, fruit and grains that are leftovers from cafes, restaurants, microbreweries and vineyards.
Our mealworms grow up on a substrate of bran that is a by product of grain milling in Tasmania.
How do I cook with insects?
This could be a very long answer. Instead check out our recipe page for a few starter tips, and follow our Instagram for links to great chefs and entomophagy cooks. There are many already out there doing beautiful things with edible insects.
Where can I buy your insects?
We are currently supplying our fresh edible insects to restaurants and food vendors in Tasmania. We are also selling Rebel Food Tasmania ready to eat products through a few select outlets across Tasmania. Including Bille & Brie Providore, Earthy Eats Launceston, Unpacked Wholefoods Kingston, East Coast Village Providore, Derby Providore & General Store, and Eumarrah Wholefoods in Hobart.
What insects do you farm?
We farm three main species that are approved by our state biosecurity regulators. These are crickets, mealworms and woodies.
In Australia only the Achetta domesticus cricket is legal to farm and sell for human consumption.
How do you farm your insects?
We do things a bit differently in Tasmania. We farm our insects at a smaller scale, and at low stocking density, Using farm, food and brew leftovers as feed rather than buying manufactured stock feed products available on the market. We do this to sidestep the global commercial stockfeed supply chain that is heavy in corn, soya, grains and animal byproducts which undermine the sustainability credentials of growing insects as a low impact food source.
This does mean we need to plan ahead for larger orders, and are producing smaller amounts. Quality not quantity is our motto.
Why are you farming insects in Tasmania?
Edible insects if farmed in a way that is not reproducing the industrial farming model can be very sustainable. They can thrive on foodstuffs that are side streams from farming and food production.
In Tasmania we have a lot of food that is wasted. Ranging from vegetables damaged in harvest, cafe and restaurant kitchen scraps and grains from breweries that can be all be used as highly nutritious feed sources that are local, and not part of a massive global stock feed supply chain.
The local food economy model using and producing food within a local system is the most exciting thing about the Rebel Food Tasmania approach to insect farming. That and producing high quality, highly nutritious edible insects for people to eat.
Why focus on supplying whole raw insects?
Taste. It’s that simple. Eating a dish that has been cooked using whole raw insects is the best way to experience how delicious edible insects can be.
Imagine if the only thing you’d ever eaten containing prawn was a prawn cracker…and then one day you were served fresh prawns, cooked just right.
Do you only supply restaurants with fresh edible insects?
We launched Rebel Food Tasmania at the Dark MOFO festival, letting great chefs and foodies showcase how tasty edible insects are.
At this stage we are focused on growing high quality fresh insects to restaurants and food vendors.
Are you certified organic?
To be certified organic we would have to stop using vegetable, fruit and grain leftovers, and feed our insects from manufactured cricked feed from stockfeed suppliers.
The food our insects eat has to be pesticide free (obviously), and is sourced within our local food economy.
One of the main reasons Rebel Food Tasmania exists is to farm insects in a truly sustainable way. We utilise food waste streams rather than repeating industrial food processes, including buying feed from global supply chains that have large environmental impacts.
Are you a certified food business?
Yes. Our facilities have been inspected, certified and registered with Australian Food Safety Assessment board.
We are a fully certified food business in compliance with the FSANZ regulations and standards.
What do you do with the insect frass?
Insect frass (polite word for poo & shed exoskeleton) is a great addition to compost to build soil. The frass and waste from our insects is incorporated into compost which is then used to build soil and grow vegetables. With this compost and richer soil, we grow our own greens to feed our baby crickets providing a reliable and fresh source of greens their tiny mandibles can get around…Closing the loop!
How do you harvest your insects?
We only use temperature to harvest and ‘dispatch’ our insects. Insects are ectothermic which means when the temperature drops, they go into dormancy. We let the insects cool off to slow down before harvesting (less stressful for them and us), and then place them in the freezer to dispatch them.
This is different from many edible and animal feed insect farms that use CO2 gas, or suffocation to kill their insects. It’s cool to be kind.