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Locavore for the iPhone

(post, Patricia Eddy)

A couple of weeks ago on our Twitter feed, we heard about a new iPhone/iPod application that really piqued our interest. What was the name of this application? Why, Locavore of course.

Well, Locavore was released to the App Store the other day and so we purchased it and gave it a test spin. If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, here’s our review of the application.

The Locavore application is designed to help you know what’s in season wherever you are.

There are several functions available.

     In Season: Once the Locavore application determines your location, it will display the fruits and vegetables that are currently in season. Next to each fruit or vegetable is an icon. The icon has a pie chart type mark next to it that shows how much longer the item will be in season. A small red wedge means that the fruit or vegetable will only be in season for a short time longer. A large green wedge indicates that the item will be in season for a while yet. Tapping on the fruit or vegetable takes you to a map of the United States. Each state has a color key that shows just how much longer your particular fruit or vegetable will be around.
     Markets: Locavore works with the Local Harvest database to pull a list of all Farmers Markets near you. This is one of the few issues in the application. It’s not the application’s fault at all, however. Local Harvest doesn’t have completely accurate data for the dates and times of all of the markets. For example, Local Harvest states that the West Seattle Farmers Market is only open from May to December, but in reality, it is open year round. Tapping each market gives you full data on the market provided by Local Harvest.
     Food: You can search or browse for 234 fruits and vegetables. For each fruit or vegetable, you can view information about the item on Wikipedia or find recipes on Epicurious.
     States: Tap on any state and you’ll see a list of items in season.

Locavore sells for $2.99.

So, is it worth the price?

Yes, I think this application is worth the price. If you often go to the farmers markets like we do with no menu plan in mind for the week, having the links to Epicurious can be incredibly helpful. You can search for an ingredient that’s on Nash’s tables and quickly bring up a recipe for dinner. Much like any application or website that lists when foods are in season, this application isn’t completely accurate. It pulls the data from the National Resources Defense Council. Currently, it says that rhubarb is in season in Washington, yet I haven’t seen it at the markets yet and I don’t expect it for at least another three weeks. So take the data with a single grain of salt. Realize that some of the fruit and vegetable growing seasons will likely be a couple of weeks off in one direction or another due to changes in the weather and always double check the hours of your farmers markets if you’re visiting a market you don’t normally go to. The good news is that when the farmers market or produce data is updated at the source databases (Local Harvest and the National Resources Defense Council), it’ll be automatically updated within the application.

If you’re outside the Puget Sound region, I think this application will be even more helpful. We are so lucky here in Seattle to have a wealth of locavore information. However, not every area is that lucky.

Based on comments from the application’s author, I think Locavore will continue to evolve to become one of the key applications local eaters will want to use when they’re out and about at the markets.