Consumers can find hundreds of local farms, markets, products, recipes and more using a new mobile app built by Pierce County and Cascade Harvest Coalition.
The Puget Sound Fresh app provides quick access to a growing network of farms and farmers markets who are members of the Coalition, a Seattle-based nonprofit that has been providing programs and resources to help build a sustainable food system in Washington State since 1999.
“The 2014 print edition of our annual Farm Guide is being distributed now, and thanks to this innovative partnership with Pierce County we have made information about what's fresh, local and in season easily accessible on your smartphone," said Mary Embleton, Cascade Harvest Coalition’s Executive Director. "Now it's easier than ever to support local farms and have access to local food.”
The Puget Sound Fresh app is available in the Google Play (Android) and Apple App stores (Windows Phone is not yet supported). The app features:
- Access to more than 200 farms, starting with the nearest farms using the device’s GPS.
- Information about more than 100 farmers markets.
- Where to find more than 240 farm products, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, herbs, meat, nursery stock, specialty forest products, and more.
- A harvest schedule so you always know what’s in season.
- 200 recipes provided by local farms and chefs.
- A calendar of local food- and farm-related events, including harvest festivals, cooking classes, workshops, farm tours and dinners.
- The ability to save your favorite farms, markets and recipes.
“Farmers tell me they need more connections to local consumers,” Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said. “Our county IT Department has a unique program for building mobile apps, and Cascade Harvest Coalition has extraordinary resources in its Puget Sound Fresh program and the Farm Guide. So it makes perfect sense to work together and build a tool that encourages people to ‘buy local’ wherever they live.”
The Puget Sound Fresh program, which includes the 56-page Farm Guide and companion website, is expanding beyond its original 12-county coverage area. The mobile app will be updated with new entries as more farms enroll. More information about the program is available at www.pugetsoundfresh.org.
"We are thrilled to be included in the new Puget Sound Fresh mobile app. It’s a wonderful addition to the web and print directory,” said Brenda Vanderloop of 21 Acres, a Sammamish Valley farm near Woodinville. “We're spreading the word to our farm partners, market shoppers, students and visitors to take advantage of this great resource."
Snohomish County farmer Darren Carleton said the app addresses the mobile needs of farmers and consumers.
“About half of our customers access our website via a phone or tablet,” said Darren Carleton of Carleton Farms. “This will give customers that ‘anytime’ ability to search for local food sources, and it provides farmers like us with another marketing outlet. This is a great tool!”
The Puget Sound Fresh app was developed as a component of the Pierce County Agriculture Program, which is assisting the industry in a variety of ways, including marketing. Pierce County builds and maintains a suite of mobile apps through an internship program with the University of Washington Tacoma's Institute of Technology and other colleges.
Note: A media kit with screenshots, a Facebook banner and other graphics is available here.
Sheryl Wiser, Cascade Harvest Coalition
Puget Sound Fresh Manager
Hunter George, Pierce County Communications director