Sustainable America Blog

Find What’s Fresh with the Seasonal Food Guide App

Fresh peaches in a farmers market basket

Photo: eren {sea+prairie} via Flickr

There are few things better than eating a peach at peak ripeness while it’s still warm from sitting on a farmers market table. But where I live, the local peach season is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it short — and I often miss it. With a new app and website from GRACE Communications Foundation, I’ll never miss another peach season.

GRACE’s new Seasonal Food Guide puts seasonal food at your fingertips. You simply enter your state and time of year, and it shows you what foods are in season. You can even set calendar reminders to alert you when your favorite foods are in season. Hosting a party in a month? You can check what foods will be at their peak then start planning a menu.

But the app, which is free and available for iOS and Android, is far more than just a calendar for local food lovers. Click on any of the more than 140 types of fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and herbs and you’ll be taken to an entry in GRACE’s Real Food Right Now series, which includes everything you’d ever want to know — cooking tips, recipes and facts — as well as revealing information about the environmental impacts and any labor issues with certain crops.

Sustainable Table's Seasonal Food Guide

One of the reasons we love this app, is that it’s also a valuable tool for helping home cooks reduce food waste. You can use it to plan meals and create shopping lists around seasonal produce. Then it tells you how long you have to eat it, how to store it so it lasts as long as possible, and even how to preserve it if you buy too much. These are all strategies we teach and encourage through our I Value Food Challenge, a four-week food waste reduction program (also free!).

We also love this app because it makes it easier to eat locally. Local produce is arguably fresher than supermarket produce, and it doesn’t have to travel as far to get to your plate, which reduces fuel use and harmful emissions. Buying local foods also supports local farmers and their families and keeps more of your food dollars in your own community.

Last but not least, local food is also likely to be more delicious since it can be picked when it’s at peak flavor, not early to accommodate packing and shipping time. Food ripened on the plant is more nutritious, too, according to studies.

Now is a great time to give the Seasonal Food Guide a spin — farmers markets are bursting with summer produce. Here’s a guide to markets around the country.

How to Reduce Food Waste Like a Chef
Is Your State Locavore-Friendly?
How to Eat Local in Winter

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.

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