Review: Locavore for the iPhone

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The term Locavore is one that I’m not very familiar with – and to be honest, I was under the impression that throwing out a blanket term like “eating organic” was good enough. The whole organic movement hit the mainstream as I was making an exodus from the west coast, so concrete and constant car honking have muddled my green/hippie roots.

The thought of going to a farmer’s market or even grocery shopping in an actual store makes me cringe a little bit when I can order groceries online and have them delivered. But Buster McLeod’s Locavore iPhone app has me thinking twice about what I’m putting into my body. I mean, I don’t think Panda Express or any other fast food slinging joint is healthy or tasty like Greg does (Editor’s Greg’s Note: It is true. I do loves me some Panda.), but I probably don’t buy things that are local either and that’s just as bad.

So what exactly is Locavore you ask? According to the iPhone app’s description a “Locavore is someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius.” In other words, a locavore tries to purchase and consume only locally grown foods with the idea that they tastes better and are better for you.

Locavore the app tells you what’s in season in your area, how much longer it’s in season for, what’s coming into season, and what’s grown in your state, pulling fruit and vegetable availability from the NRDC. But it does much more than that and it kicks much ass.

When you launch the application you’re greeted with the main splash page that says, “Rolling up to the market…” Once the app is fired up you’ll see the following icons across the bottom: In Season, Markets, Food, States and About. Locavore automatically detects where you are based on cell phone triangulation or GPS (depending on which iPhone model you have) and lists what’s “Currently in season” and what’s “Coming in season soon.” Each food item has a small pie chart next to it that indicates how much longer the food is in season or when it’s coming into season. The pie charts are filled in with shades of red, yellow, orange and green to indicate freshness. Red means it’s going out of season so be quick about picking those up, while green means you have plenty of time to pick up a bushel of whatever it is that you like to eat, hippie. When the foods of your region are populated you can tap each one to get a more detailed breakdown of where else it grows in the US and how much longer it will be in season.

“Markets” lists all the local Farmers’ Markets in your immediate vicinity. I’m not sure what the distance cut-off is but there are approximately 25 markets within 2.4 miles of where I am. Local Harvest populates this section of the app. Tapping into any listing leads to an in-app web page for that market, though you can break the page out to Safari if you choose to do so.

The “Food” screen lists all 234 foods in Locavore’s database. By tapping into one of them, it pulls up a map of the US and breaks down where it grows, where it’s in season and when it will be in season.

The “States” tab does exactly what you’d expect, telling you which foods are in season and what’s coming into season in a specific state.

And last but not least is the “About” section of the app. It’s here that you can get news and updates from the Locavore Twitter account without ever having to leave the app. You can also ask questions and submit bugs via Get Satisfaction.

Well, that’s the Locavore app in a nutshell. It’s simple to use and it’s a hippie/foodie/chef’s dream come true.

But it’s not perfect. Like any first release, it has its bugs. One bug we stumbled upon: If you hit the “In Season” tab after launch while you’re already viewing it, it pulls up the loading graphic, which isn’t a big deal since you can get back to the list of foods by tapping it again. But that bug renders the “In Season” tab useless if you happen to accidentally hit that “In Season” tab while you’re in it and decide to navigate to a certain food in the list. If that happens, you won’t be able to get back to the main list without restarting the app. The Locavore guys have told me that they’re working on fixing it for the next release.

The Locavore iPhone app is available now from iTunes for an introductory price of $2.99 for the first thousand buyers. I suggest you jump on it now.

Note: Ex-CrunchGear writer Matt Hickey had a part in the development of this application, which we felt was worthy of a disclosure. We judged it as we would judge any other iPhone application that was submitted for review.

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