Kate Stoddard, founder of Orchestra Provisions and purveyor of seasonings and supplements made from crickets, was recognized this month as a member of the Forbes “Next 1000,” a list of entrepreneurs who are “redefining the American dream.”
Stoddard’s mission is to replace or reimagine traditional protein sources by incorporating sustainably-sourced insects into spice blends, protein powders, and therapeutic health blends. She started Orchestra Provisions (named after the collective noun for a group of crickets) in Salmon, but moved to Driggs to better weather Covid as a single mom.
She works evenings at Forage Bistro, giving her time during the day to devote to her kid, Wren, and her start-up.
“The Hanleys have been so incredibly supportive,” she said about the owners of Forage, who also let her use their commercial kitchen when she couldn’t afford to rent one. “Christian [Hanley] has been so enthusiastic about the product and immediately wanted to incorporate it into dishes. It works really well when people eat something delicious that includes crickets, and then I’m there to talk about it. It brings a lot of validity to the brand, to have that collaboration and support from a business people already trust.”
Dishes like chai cricket spice-encrusted lion’s mane mushroom, and crimson root ice cream with crickets, beet, orange peel, and cardamom, have made appearances on the Forage menu, and the restaurant sells the cricket seasoning blends. Orchestra Provisions products are available at Barrels & Bins, and the protein powders can be purchased at MTN Lab and Fitzgerald’s Bicycles.
“The spices are a great entry point to get people comfortable with the idea of eating insects, but the protein powder has the impact of helping people with their nutritional needs and replacing servings of less sustainable protein,” Stoddard said. She sneaks crickets into many dishes at home in order to give her son a more balanced diet.
Crickets are not only a protein-dense food with a small ecological footprint, they also provide iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, B-vitamins, fatty acids and prebiotic fiber.
In the interest of scaling her business, Stoddard has outsourced production to a co-packer, giving her the ability to focus on sales and education, the side of the business she’s really excited about. By attending events like last weekend’s North Fork Championship, a boating competition on the Payette River, she’s trying to target outdoor athletes and cultivate a team of brand ambassadors among the people who want to experiment with nutrition and performance while also preserving wild spaces.
“I look up to Red Bull that way, in their marketing success,” she said. “But I want to accomplish the same thing with a product that athletes actually use and benefit from.”
In the three years since she founded Orchestra Provisions, Stoddard has been pleased to see that awareness and enthusiasm around insect protein has skyrocketed. Glowing articles about entomophagy (eating insects) in Time Magazine and Financial Express offer headlines like “They’re Healthy. They’re Sustainable. So Why Don’t More People Eat Bugs?” and “The Future of Food.”
“I’ve seen so much speedy change come about and I love that each little start-up with a nerdy scientist behind it is making this normal,” Stoddard said. “I’m very optimistic about it.”