Local, Seasonal Produce? Now There’s an App for That

We all want to eat fresh, seasonal produce, at the peak of its flavor, but sometimes it’s hard to keep track of exactly what’s in season near you at any given time. Now there’s an app for that.

The Seasonal Food Guide, which launched for Android and iOS in time for National Farmer’s Market Week, lets you know the seasonality of everything from apples and arugula to winter squash and zucchini in your own state.

Developed by GRACE Communcations Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to boost public awareness and create tools to support sustainable food initiatives, the free guide is designed to make seasonal shopping easier. Billed as “the most comprehensive database of seasonal food available in the US,” the app allows you to search for what’s in season at any point in time in every state, producing precise accurate results using data from the Natural Resources Defense Council, United States Department of Agriculture, state agriculture extension offices, and state departments of agriculture.

You can use it before heading out to your neighborhood farmer’s market or CSA to anticipate the produce you’re apt to find there and plan your meals accordingly. (Always good to have a plan.) You can check it while you’re shopping at the grocery store to see which fruits and vegetables are in season. (Just don’t block the aisle with your cart while you’re tapping away at your smartphone.) You can even set reminders to let you know when your favorite produce is in season and at peak freshness — so you can be sure not to totally miss strawberry season. (Phew.)

The Seasonal Food Guide also features recipes, cooking tips and fun factoids for more than 140 types of seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts and legumes, grown locally across the United States. For instance, New York residents will learn not only that rapini is in season in their state from August to November, but also get this tasty tidbit of info about the verdant vegetable: “You’d think that rapini would be closely related to broccoli, right? In fact, its closest relative is the turnip.” Interesting. And those who care to can dig deeper into the veggie’s history, get storage, prep and cooking guidance, nutrition information, and more. There’s lots of information to chew on — but the user-friendly app makes it easy to digest.

“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,” Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., GRACE’s chief science advisor, said in a release. “We built the Seasonal Food Guide app to put those answers right at your fingertips.”

Definitely a handy tool for home cooks.

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Photo: iStock

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