Farmer’s markets are prime opportunities for consumers to directly interact with the people responsible for growing their food. However, fewer varieties of produce and unfamiliar harvest options can at times make the markets feel overwhelming and confusing for the average supermarket shopper. And while farmer’s markets are great for occasional purchases, they aren’t as friendly as grocery stores for convenience and meal planning. A new smartphone app, Seasonal Food Guide, is looking to change that.
Seasonal Food Guide, developed by GRACE Communications Foundation (GRACE), is a national database that allows users to look up what foods are currently in season from local farms. The guide includes comprehensive database on over 140 types of fruits, vegetables, herbs, legumes and nuts. Seasonal Food Guide educates users on when produce is in peak season and has maximum flavor based on their geographical location – and includes all 50 U.S. states.
“Today, people want to know where their produce is coming from, how long it will be in season and available at their local farmers market or grocery store, and what’s in season at other times of the year or in other neighboring states,” said Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Chief Science Advisor with GRACE. “We built the Seasonal Food Guide app to put those answers right at your fingertips.”
Free to iPhone and Android users, the app collects data from the Natural Resources Defense Council and state departments of agriculture and university extension programs across the US. Users have the capability to set reminders for when their favorite foods are in season as well as browse recipes, fun facts and information about the environmental impact of growing each type of produce.
“Whether you’re a local food lover, parent or cook, this quick and easy guide can help you find local, seasonal food that’s fresher and tastes better,” said Gabrielle Blavatsky, Project Manager of Seasonal Food Guide. “It can also inspire new recipes for almost any seasonal food in your area,”
GRACE, a New York based nonprofit, launched the app during 2017 National Farmer’s Market Week. The foundation looks to increase awareness of the current industrial food system and advocates for more sustainable alternatives.