Made in the Valley: Bassetts Cricket Ranch

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Monday, February 22, 2016
Made in the Valley: Bassetts Cricket Ranch
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A closer look at the South Valley business finding fun in growing a unique product.

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A closer look at the South Valley business finding fun in growing a unique product.

The sound of crickets chirping is a constant hum at Bassetts Cricket Ranch in Visalia.

"The millions of crickets you hear in this building, you pretty much tune out like white noise, but one cricket in your house will drive you crazy," said Russ Bassett, Bassetts Cricket Ranch.

Russ Bassett and his son Russell, who with the help of their employees, run one of the largest cricket farms on the West Coast -- all from their South Valley property.

"People want to know are they just running loose? They can't envision that they're in boxes and you have to harvest them, said Russ Bassett.

While it may be winter outside, it actually feels like summer inside the growing room. The crickets need a warm temperature to go from egg to adult in about six and a half weeks."

Each box holds thousands of crickets as they spend their days growing and crawling over one another. After the banded cricket reach the right size, it's time for them to move on.

Employees shake cartons and then fill thousands of orders one by one.

The crickets are shipped to 49 states across the country. They're also sold in Valley at locations like Whitie's Pet Store and Tulare Pet Center.

"It's one of the best reptile foods. Every lizard or bearded dragon loves live food and that's the best most healthy, most protein to get your animal to have the healthiest diet," said Russell Bassett.

The company started in 1969 with humble beginnings. "It was a disaster. We had crickets all over. My mom had crickets in her hair, we had crickets in our clothes," said Russ Bassett.

The company spans three generations, with Grandmother Dorothy still working in the office. They've expanded their pet supply business with meal worms for fishing and beta fish for pet stores. And some of these crickets will also be eaten by people.

"Some people like to do it for human consumption. Some of the bigger things right now are cricket chips, cricket flour which they can use to have cookies or cakes. Its big in the Asian countries right now," said Russell.

A demand they think could come to the United States. But for now, the Bassetts are just proud to watch their business and crickets grow.

"I love the raising of it, I love the idea that its agriculture," said Russ.

A California grown and bred product right here in the Valley.

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