The idea to develop a mobile app for fruits and vegetables had been bouncing around my head for a few months before I sketched the first wireframe. And after enlisting the help of Kenny Carruthers to handle the code we set out to build an iPhone app that would help consumers purchase produce that was fresh, in season, and free of toxic chemicals. After a couple months of design, code, and data entry, Farmanac coalesced into a guide for fruits and vegetables. The app tells you exactly when produce is in season locally; what it’s pesticide level is, indicating whether to splurge and buy organic, or if you’re just as safe opting for conventional; if a fruit or vegetable has been genetically modified; how to determine when an item is ripe; and how to store your produce once you’re back at home.
In developing Farmanac we envisioned the primary use for our app to be in a consumer’s hands as they walked through the aisles of a grocery story or farmers market. To ensure an enjoyable user experience, we then obsessed over details like design: creating a screen optimized for readability and enabling a search by PLU Code; and technical features like local data storage (in case you don’t have cellular reception in a market) or guaranteeing a fast frame rate for smooth scrolling. Our goal was to make Farmanac so simple it would become an essential tool for a grocery shopping trip.
We launched the app in May of 2011 and so far the response has been great. We’ve received coverage in blogs like the Sierra Club and even a TV interview with yours truly. The app has also garnered great reviews from the people who matter the most: our users. To date my favorite has been from Lacy T:
Eating fresh feels so good ★★★★★
This is a great app for anyone looking to eat better and feel better. I am a huge advocate of eating local, and eating organic. This app helps the average shopper feel like an insider.
We have a list of new improvements and new features we plan on implementing in the future, but don’t wait the app is available right now on iTunes and in my biased opinion, it’s well worth it.