5 Useful Apps & Charts for Choosing Seasonal Produce
Finally, summer is just around the corner! And while there are delicious fruits and vegetables available nearly every season, summer yields some of the very best picks. Equip yourself with one or more of the tools below before your next trip to the farmers market.
Well reviewed, the Seasons app for iPhone tells you what's in season based on where you live, with support currently in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Western and Central Europe. The app's vault contains 214 entries, each with an image, description and seasonal stats, in which users can easily access data for fruits, vegetables, lettuces, herbs, mushrooms and nuts.
It also locates nearby farmers markets by pulling data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural, Australian Farmers' Markets Association, Qype (Europe) and Local Food Advisor (UK+Ireland)
Available for $1.99 in the iTunes store.
A free alternative to the Seasons app, Fresh Fruit has received mixed reviews—perhaps due to translation issues, as the app's creator is Italian. Fresh Fruit offers facts and nutritional properties, and guides users to selecting the right fruit month after month. While the app seems somewhat adequate, you may want to splurge and spend $1.99 on the previously mentioned "Seasons", which boast more features.
Available for free in the iTunes store.
Headed by Tyler Mintz, Foodstalk is a local foods campaign based out of Brooklyn. The organization offers a beautiful "What's in Season, New York" chart for residents within a 200 mile radius of NYC. Covering 48 of the most common fruits and vegetables grown in New York, the blue area represents the dormant season, during which season-conscious eaters should default to stored produce (apples, pears and root vegetables).
East Seasonably is a UK based campaign for local foods, with the motto "Better taste, Better value and Better for the planet". Their free calender offers a a handy disc to view fruits and vegetables at their best time that month.
In the last month or so, I've made frequent watermelon runs to the grocery store. I've learned that if the season isn't quite there yet, you better come armed with a knife to test that sucker after you've purchased it. If it's a mess inside, swap it before you head home (the cashiers are always happy to comply).
Then I heard about the iWatermelon app. Sounds too good to be true, but perhaps I'll never have to enter a grocery store brandishing a knife again...
Compatible with pumpkins as well, the app "interprets the [audio] feedback it receives by tapping on the watermelon, using a unique custom made formula for determining whether the Watermelon is sweet or not depending on its size, color and feedback sound."