Jack Armstrong’s family farm, just outside of West Monroe in northern Louisiana, is one of the oldest of its kind in the nation. It’s an unconventional operation. In place of pastures, there are white warehouses. In place of traditional livestock, there are crickets.
In 1945 Jack’s grandfather, Tal Armstrong, a plumber by trade, was trying to find a way to breed crickets, in Glennville, Georgia. He loved fishing, and crickets proved to be his best bait—but he was done paying people to catch them. He began experimenting with raising the arthropods in his boiler room. A friend who owned a funeral home nearby offered Tal the boxes that caskets came in as makeshift homes for the crickets. They turned out to be just right; the crickets thrived. Within a year, word got around that Tal had the best fishing bait in town, and Tal realized his pastime could support much more than a roadside stand.
READ MORE AT THE PACIFIC STANDARD