When the Seattle Mariners introduced their new snack lineup for the 2017-2018 season, they didn't expect for chapulines, or toasted grasshoppers, to be so popular. However, due to the fan response, Safeco Field, the Mariners' home stadium, is imposing an order limit of just 312 per game for the rest of the season.
According to ESPN, the team sold 901 orders of the insects over the first three home games, selling out during each one. The grasshoppers are toasted and mixed with a chili lime salt and will run you $4 for four ounces. According to Mariners spokeswoman Rebecca Hale, the number 312 was chosen to honor Mariner great Edgar Martinez's career batting average (.312).
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The stand selling the grasshoppers, Poquitos, is a well-known eatery in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. This is the stand's first year operating in the stadium and it is located in the area behind the outfield wall known as The Pen, one of the most fan-friendly spots in Safeco Field. The roughly 18,000 grasshoppers sold during the first three games are more than Poquitos typically sells in a year.
In Mexico, chapulines are considered a delicacy and are commonly sold at sporting events in a number of cities, including Oaxaca, Puebla and Cuernavaca. While they aren't very common in the United States, chapulines continue to receive more exposure as Americans become increasingly interested in both regional Mexican cuisines and eating insects.
Besides the protein boost that comes from eating insects, a research study published last year in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that they can supply as much iron, magnesium, and other nutrients as steak. Grasshoppers, crickets, and mealworms also had higher concentrations of chemically available zinc, magnesium, copper, and calcium.
At 2-8, the Mariners might end up as the second most popular attraction at Safeco Field this season.