Chocolatier: Claire Gooley

Claire Gooley is your average Asheville citizen. Except, as most of us who live in Asheville know, almost nobody here is “average” in the typical sense of the word. It is a city full of environmentalists, artists, healers, philosophers, and good ol’ working folk devoted to “keeping it local”. It’s no wonder that Charlotte native, Claire, made her home here a few years ago, and does everything from harvest grapes at a winery, serve up tacos at a local eatery and hand roll delicious chocolate truffles for UliMana Chocolate. But perhaps most uniquely, Claire makes cricket food.

You heard that last one right, but no- she doesn’t make food for crickets to eat. As assistant director of LaViewEye she makes food out of crickets- for people to eat. The business began a year ago after a conversation with her friend, and now the business’s director, Alyssa. The two were discussing how many societies outside of North America eat insects regularly. They did some research and found that 80% of the world includes some bugs in their diet- the United States is actually fairly unique in its distaste for the creepy crawly. The two decided to do something about it, and LaViewEye was born.

But how does one go about starting a cricket based food business anyways? Grab a net and flashlight and head to the backyard? In the case of LaViewEye, they make it easy on themselves and source from a cricket farm in Ohio where they are certified for human consumption. They then either receive some sort of novelty special seasoning to be enjoyed popcorn style (Claire’s favorite being nutritional yeast and Braggs), or are ground into a flour that is turned into power bars. The flour can also be added to smoothies, brownies, or almost anything else you could add a supplement to for additional nutrient dense benefits.

While some may find the idea hard to stomach, an insect such as the cricket has a ton of nutritional value. Crickets are super high in vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium, and iron. As for protein? A serving will give you twice as much as a serving of beef! If that’s not enough to convince you of its merits, consider that farming crickets has close to no environmental impact. Studies have shown that one of the most significant things we can do for our planet is to start incorporating insects into our diet, as the meat industry is a leading polluter and contributor to climate change. With that in mind, small cricket businesses like LaViewEye are actually on the cutting edge of revolutionizing the American diet because of their unparalleled sustainability.

While LaViewEye is on pause right now as the business gets settled into a new kitchen, they have found recent success at local farmers markets and events. Customers have been delighted to find that eating crickets can be environmentally friendly as well as a healthy and delicious choice. Check out their GoFundMe page and website to learn more LaViewEye and their amazing and revolutionary food product!

As for Claire, until the cricket business gets revved up again you can find her working with another amazing and delicious food- UliMana Chocolate Truffles! Her favorite truffle? The new Oh!Mega 3; a truffle rich in omega oils and and combining the delicious flavors of ginger and cacao.

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