Grubs up for real at ‘Pestaurant’ during national ploughing championships

The health benefits of eating insects will be highlighted over the three days of the national ploughing championships.

Aerial shot of the Ploughing Championship village in Tullamore as they make their final preparations for the 2016 event.

Diners at Rentokil’s pop-up Pestaurant will be spoiled for choice with an array of of creepy crawlies from an À la carte menu — all served free of charge.

The culinary delights include ham and cheese mealworms, chilli pepper crickets, ant chocolate rounds, roasted locusts, and grasshopper lolipops.

Managing Director of Rentokil Initial Ireland, Michael O’Mahoney, said Pestaurant is not only about enjoying a new culinary experience.

It will also highlight the nutritional benefits of eating insects, a diet largely supported by the UN.

“We also want to raise awareness of common pest issues and demonstrate Rentokil’s commitment to keeping up the heat on Ireland’s pests,” he said.

The company’s entire supply of edible creepy crawlies was wiped out at last year’s Ploughing Championships with almost 8,000 insects being tasted and enjoyed over the three days.

“This year, we’ve made the menu even more exciting and it’s sure to challenge even the most adventurous foodies at the event,” he said.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, more than 2bn people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects, many of which are rich in protein, zinc, calcium, and iron whilst being low in fat. The UN has tipped insects as a potentially valuable source of food for the world’s rapidly growing population.

All of the edible insects and grubs on the menu at the ploughing championships were properly sourced and are nut and gluten free.

But people who are allergic to shellfish and crustaceans are advised not to sample them — tempting and all as that might be.

Rentokil’s Pestaurant will celebrate the company’s 80 years’ experience in providing professional pest control services throughout Ireland.

It will, however, be only one of 40 catering stands at the event — the others wlll be offering choices of more traditional food and beverages.

Last year, an estimated 240,000 cups of tea and coffee, 120,000 breakfasts or rolls, 24,000 litres of milk, 19,000 eggs, 16 tonnes of Irish beef, over 5 tonnes of cheese, and 3 tonnes of locally sourced pork were consumed.

A quarter pound burger was sold every second and a chicken fillet every 10 seconds. It took 14 acres to grow all the potatoes required while 6,500 boxes of fresh salads were also delivered.

Some 800 people will be engaged in the catering services alone. But the plight of millions of people across the globe who are hungry will not be forgotten.

Goal, for instance, will invite visitors to its stand so they can experience the sights, sounds and smells of a typical African farm.

It will demonstrate how some traditional farming practices still used in places like Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Uganda, are remarkably similar to farming traditions in Ireland more than 150 years ago.

Goal will also show how it is helping African farmers to produce more food for a rapidly expanding global population.

One third of that population is currently fed through some 500m small farms, with an average size of one GAA pitch.

The agency’s stand will allow people to see, touch and sample African crops like sorghum, chili pepper and sweet potato.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to handle and test some of the traditional African tools, including shovels, hoes, sickles and other hand tools native to various regions.

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