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It’s that time of year when Montana State University students and Bozeman residents experiment with their taste buds and eat bugs.

The university’s 33rd annual week-long bug buffet will start Monday and events will be held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. Chefs Joseph Yoon and David George Gordon will kick things off with a virtual conversation at 12:30 p.m. with insect entrepreneurs from California, Idaho, Maine and New York.

University catering on Tuesday and Thursday will deliver a free box of edible dishes featured on its menu to students on campus with certain meal plans. Those dishes include grasshopper pemmican, cricket corn cookie, salt and vinegar crickets and sunflower seed and ant brittle.

Edible insects are part of the university’s overall goal of getting as many ingredients as possible that leave behind a minimal carbon footprint, according to the event’s website. As of August, the university was the first in the U.S. Land Grant system to put “bugs on the daily catering menu.”

Florence Dunkel, associate professor in the department of plant sciences and plant pathology, said her team put a lot of effort into adapting the event to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

“Even though things will look a bit different, we are confident that it’s going to be a wonderful event just like it is every year,” the event organizer said.

The university will post videos on its website covering topics like international insect cuisine, how insects are used by the university’s catering service, and sustainability and environmental impacts of edible insects. The week will also feature virtual tours of the university’s cereal quality lab and its food insect lab.

On Feb. 27, an 18-team student cook-off streamed online at 2:30 p.m. will cap off the event.

A full schedule and more information can be found on the university’s website at http://www.montana.edu/ehhd/thebugbuffet.html.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.

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