Identifying and purchasing healthy, sustainably grown food can be a challenge even for the well-informed shopper. If you want to track down farmersâ€™ market locations, ensure your produce is pesticide-free or reduce your food waste, download one or more of these apps.
1. Dirty Dozen (www.ewg.org, free)
Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental research organization, created this app that focuses on which types of conventionally raised produce are the lowest and highest in pesticides. Lists include the Dirty Dozen (such as apples, spinach and grapes) and the Clean 15 (sweet corn, asparagus, cantaloupe). The app helps decide when finding an organic alternative is especially important.
2. Farmstand (www.farmstandapp.com, free)
This app connects shoppers to nearly 9,000 farmers markets around the world. Users can post pictures of markets and vendors to share with other users, alert others to great finds, and browse information posted by fellow market-goers. Markets can be sorted by location and opening hours.
3. Good Guide (www.goodguide.com, free)
This wide-ranging shopping app rates everything from produce to pet food, according to producersâ€™ health, environmental and social benefits. In the case of fresh produce, dairy and meats, items can be sorted using filters such as organic, vegan and specific nutrition aspects.
4. Harvest (www.harvest-app.com, paid)
The app provides a list of pesticide levels on fruit and vegetables and instructs shoppers on methods for picking the best and ripest in-season produce, from shaking blueberries to knocking on watermelons. It also provides information on the best means of storage for different kinds of produce.
5. HarvestMark Food Traceability (www.harvestmark.com, free)
Participating fruit, vegetable and dairy brands label their products with a 16-digit HarvestMark code or QR code; shoppers use the app to scan the code, retrieve the productâ€™s harvest information and give feedback.
6. Locavore (www.getlocavore.com, free)
This app contains a large database of local farmersâ€™ markets, farms, community-supported agriculture ventures, and vendors selling organic produce and in-season foods. It showcases recipes using in-season ingredients and allows users to tag local sellers, share reviews and post new finds.
7. Love Food Hate Waste (www.lovefoodhatewaste.com, free)
Produced by the United Kingdom-based organization WRAP [LINK: http://www.wrap.org.uk/], the app helps shoppers reduce food waste by better organizing oneâ€™s kitchen, cooking and shopping habits. It helps eaters keep track of whatâ€™s in their cupboards, posts alerts about duplicate items, highlights recipes for how to best use the food thatâ€™s already there, and cuts down on unnecessary purchases.
8. Seafood Watch (www.seafoodwatch.org, free)
This app helps shoppers identify the most sustainable seafood options at the market and which to avoid.
9. Seasons (www.seasonsapp.com, paid)
This app lists natural growing-season data and local availability of hundreds of kinds of produce, from herbs to mushrooms to fruits. It also includes the import seasons of produce, photos, and the location of farmersâ€™ markets around the world.
10. True Food (www.centerforfoodsafety.org, free)
This app, created by the nonprofit environmental advocacy organization Center for Food Safety, helps shoppers identify which foods contain GMOs, including dairy products, meat and meat alternatives.
11. Whatâ€™s on my Food (www.whatsonmyfood.org, free)
Created by the Pesticide Action Network, this app accesses an extensive and up-to-date database of all pesticides used on varieties of produce. The app illuminates the health effects of each pesticide, from the relatively benign to the downright dangerous.