I know our task is to write about great restaurants. But in the broadest sense, our job is to alert you to ways to get great food nearby. And in that respect, Locavore, a cute iPhone application is squarely on topic.
If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch you already know that there are tens of thousands of applications available to you. The countless recipe apps mostly bore me to tears. Urban Spoon’s random restaurant finder is cute, but more often than not points me somewhere meh. It’s not Urban Spoon’s fault. The people rating those restaurants are all over the map and the recommendations sometimes reflect that. And while Locavore doesn’t point you to restaurants, it does tell you what’s in season depending on where you are in the United States.
Finding out what’s in season is not only critical for cooking, but ultimately it’s key for eating. Imagine going into a restaurant and realizing that the dish you wanted is comprised of items that are not locally in season. That’s critical information that can help you pick the right dish, or (more likely) the right restaurant. In addition, there’s a guide to farmer’s markets near wherever you happen to be. Not only is this a great use of the iPhone’s GPS functionality, but it’s critical to helping you get fresh food. And for those of us who prefer finished goods to ingredients, nine out of ten farmers’ markets I’ve attended have somebody selling something you can eat right on the spot. And usually it’s something delicious.
Finally, Locavore lets you broadcast what fresh items you’re eating by connecting your Facebook account to the app. I’m not sure whether this feature is there to help tell me about local fresh finds, or to torture me when people talk about what great veggies they’re eating out of their garden. Perhaps in the future it could include their GPS location so I could go raid their pea patch.
There’s tons of things that could be even better about Locavore including — support for the whole world instead of just the U.S. and farmers’ market details formatted for the iPhone and not for a big computer screen. That said, it’s already pretty good, and I have no doubt the proprietor of Enjoymentland (Locavore’s creator) is hard at work on these improvements and others even as we speak. (Full disclosure: Buster, who runs Enjoymentland and writes Locavore is someone I have broken bread with and a general good guy. But I paid my $3.99 for Locavore like everyone else.)
Bottom line, for anyone who’s seeking out freshness, Locavore is indispensable. Back to writing about restaurants next week folks.