New Food App Highlights Local Produce

Local Pickins is helping residents find local, fresh food.

App image provided.

App image provided.

Local Pickins, a new app available for free on iTunes, is not your typical restaurant locater. Instead of pointing out the closest fast food or coffee chain, Local Pickins shows you the way to local produce.

Residents looking for fresh finds in their neighborhood, or tourists craving some local color on their travels can search around their location for farmers’ markets, farm stands, food trucks, bakeries, fish markets, and even cooking classes.

Originally a website and a blog, Local Pickins and its founder Annie Hurd have been dedicated to introducing shoppers to local producers and food purveyors around the Boston area since 2011. “I knew the local food movement was going to take off,” Hurd says, “and I wanted to know where I could go to find fresh ingredients. I wanted artisan cheeses, and fresh vegetables, and bakeries nearby, and I realized there wasn’t one place that brought together all that information for a food consumer to easily go shopping.”

Hurd and her Cambridge-based team launched Local Pickins as an app in late 2012 and have been actively gathering local produce information ever since. “Our listings are constantly growing,” Hurd says. “We’re adding new ones every day.”

The app provides users, affectionately termed “pickers” by Hurd and her team, with listings of nearby farmers markets, merchants, food trucks, and classes/events. “That’s one of the things I love about the app,” Hurd says. “You can click on classes and events and see that there’s a cheese class nearby and go to that shop’s event page and sign up right there.”

Local Pickins also has the sharing power of a social media site. Pickers can shoot quick pictures of their local produce finds and post them to the app, citing where they found it. Other pickers can scroll through these “pickins” when they access that market’s listing and then add their own.

And just because it’s fall doesn’t mean it’s too late to hit Boston’s farmers markets with the Local Pickins app. “The majority of farmers markets in the Boston area are still active in the fall,” Hurd says. “It’s really an exciting time for them right now.”

The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad but will work best with iPhone 5. A new update is scheduled for later this fall that will incorporate more sharing and following capabilities for pickers.