How to find local produce with Locavore
This free iOS or Android app shows you where to find locally grown produce and when it's in season.
January isn't the best month to write about a local-produce app, but given the mild winter we've had thus far in the northeast, it feels more like spring, so here goes.
Locavore is a free iOS app (Android, too) that shows you what produce is currently in season, what local produce those around you are eating, and where the farms, CSAs (community supported agriculture), and farmers' markets are located in your area.
After installing the free app (I am using the iOS version), you'll want to allow the app to know your location when it politely asks. After locating you, Locavore will display a list of produce that is currently in season. In New Hampshire, for example, it tells me I have one month left for leeks, 1.5 months left for cabbage, and 2.5 months left for Brussels sprouts, along with some year-round staples such as kale and collard greens. Scroll down a bit and you'll see a list of what's coming soon. While the earliest produce items are at least 2.5 months away in my area, I was excited to see that maple syrup is only a month away.
Next to the In Season button at the bottom of the screen are four more buttons: I Ate Local, Markets, Browse, and About. On the I Ate Local screen is a running list of comments by other Locavore users about what local produce they have eaten and where they got it. You'll need to be logged into Facebook if you'd like to contribute to the conversation. You can choose to read comments from people within 150 miles of you, 500 miles, or anywhere.
The Markets button might be the most useful part of the app. It displays a Google map with pins denoting the farms, CSAs, and farmers markets in your area. Red pins are farmers markets, and the green pins are farms and CSAs. Tap on a pin to see the name of the farm, farmers market, or CSA, and then tap the blue arrow button for information about it, including its address, contact information, and available produce.
The Browse button lets you browse by produce item or place. From the long list of fruits and vegetables, you can learn when, say, tomatoes are in season. According to Locavore, I have 5.5 months to wait for locally grown tomatoes. For produce that is in season, you can tap the "Where you might find local ___" line and be taken to a map with pins dropped on places that have the item in question. Below that line is map that shows where in the country that item is available. You can also search by state on the Browse screen, but it just repeats the information from the In Season screen for your area. Also on the Browse screen are two recipe links for items currently in season or coming soon, but both are blank for me at the present. What, no one has a recipe for potato leek soup?
Tuck this app away and pull it out this summer when the corn is thigh-high.