The Guide, which can be accessed online or via its app, allows users to search for produce by location, time of year, or food item. The Guide also includes information about the produce including its nutritional value, environmental impact, appearance when most ripe, and length of peak freshness.
This guide draws from a database with more than 140 types of fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, and herbs. Previously, data spanned multiple, disparate databases. But FoodPrint’s goal is to create one accessible source of information. Their Guide compiles data from the Natural Resources Defense Council and state departments of agriculture and university extension programs.
Along with the list of produce in season, the Guide links to FoodPrint’s Real Food Encyclopedia. Here, users can find shopping and storing tips, sustainability information, cooking tips, and relevant recipes for the produce. In the app, users can also set notifications for when their favorite produce is in season.
The Seasonal Food Guide receives over hundreds of thousands of page views a month, according to FoodPrint director, Jerusha Klemperer. In addition to helping home cooks, the guide also serves as a resource for people helping increase access to healthy foods in their communities.
“The ones I find really exciting are food directors for schools and hospitals who are trying to add local, seasonal food to their menus,” Klemperer tells Food Tank.
With the Guide’s help, FoodPrint hopes that more people will purchase seasonal fruits and vegetables, which they report can be fresher and more nutritious than out of season produce. Buying local also helps reduce carbon emissions associated with transporting food.
In the future, Klemperer says that FoodPrint will add new foods to the Seasonal Food Guide and break down larger states into regions for greater accuracy. In light of COVID-19, Klemperer says that consumers are increasingly looking for locally sourced foods. She tells Food Tank that “local shopping and eating is more likely to be seasonal shopping and eating” and is hopeful that these habits will stick.