'Like really tiny cattle': Couple grows literal 'meal' worms

Tiffany Cassidy has been farming meal worms and super worms in her pantry for the past year at her Waterloo, Ont., home.

Tiffany Cassidy farmed 165 grams of super worms in her pantry

The meal, made by Tiffany Cassidy and her partner, contained 165 grams of super worms which were farmed in her pantry over one year. (Submitted by Tiffany Cassidy)

Worms have wriggled their way into Tiffany Cassidy's diet.

Cassidy, who is originally from Moose Jaw, has been farming worms in the pantry of her Waterloo, Ont. home for the past year. She adds them to meals as a source of protein.

"They kind of taste a little bit like the texture of popcorn, but a little bit meatier," Cassidy told CBC Saskatchewan's Morning Edition.

Tiffany Cassidy started farming worms in her pantry at home in Waterloo, Ont., after hearing about the growing popularity of eating insects as a source of protein. (Submitted by Tiffany Cassidy)

The adventure started when a friend from Uganda explained that eating grasshoppers is popular in many countries around the world.

Cassidy decided to give it a try.

"I thought that was really cool, so we actually went out to fields around Regina and tried to capture these grasshoppers and learn how to eat them," she said.

After determining that a person might burn more calories trying to catch grasshoppers than they would gain from eating them, she decided to farm her own bugs.

Cassidy and her partner purchased meal worms from a Regina pet store. From there, she said "you basically raise them like really tiny cattle."

'A strenuous process'

After researching worm housings online, she managed to find everything she needed at a local hardware store.

Her first try at raising meal worms wasn't a great success. She decided to try her hand at farming another species known as super worms.

After searching online, Cassidy found a plan for the apparatus shown above. (Submitted by Tiffany Cassidy)

The worms evolved into beetles, which were then moved into what Cassidy calls a "mating bin." After several cycles the process produced what Cassidy calls a "herd" of worms, which could be pulled from for food.

"It does seem like a pretty ethical way to eat," Cassidy told CBC Saskatchewan's Morning Edition.

"I imagine those worms were having the life of their dreams in a comfy, warm container filled with oats and carrot peels and if you know otherwise let me know."

It took the couple a year to farm and produce 165 grams of super worms. She said it was enough to feed four people and each serving contained 20 per cent protein.

"It is a pretty strenuous process and honestly it might be a net calorie loss at this point," she said.

Even so, she said the exercise was worthwhile.

"It's pretty interesting just to learn about the worms and then try them as a different kind of food."

with files from CBC Saskatchewan's Morning Edition