Penn State Extension Launches Mobile App to Connect Consumers to Farms

Posted: August 9, 2011

Penn State Extension - Lehigh County has released the Farm Fresh mobile app that makes it easy for Pennsylvanians to find the abundant local food sources that surround them.

Pennsylvania has nearly eight million acres of farmland, and 91 percent of its farms are family-owned or sole proprietorships, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s website. Many of these farms are small -- they average 124 acres -- and some can be hard to find if consumers don’t know they are there.

The Farm Fresh app, with its growing database of more than 2,500 farm-food vendors, aims to change that.  It connects consumers to fresh fruits, vegetables, artisan cheese, varietal honey, wineries, seasonal activities and farmhouse baked goods -- grown, made and sold locally.  In the process, it also generates business for local farming families. Pointing consumers to local farms keeps Pennsylvania farms viable and the state’s land open.

How does the app work? Farm Fresh is currently available for the iPhone and iPad in the app store. This new and evolving smart phone software lets users search by product, location or keyword. When users click on the farms they find, the app takes them to the farm’s product page and gives them everything they will need to locate that farm. Users can even call a farm or visit its website with just one click and can get directions easily, too. When users find retailers that look too good to pass up, they can save their favorites.

The app’s database is being actively compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, PaFarm and Penn State Extension to bring users up-to-date results from thousands of local farms. These partners have also worked together to actively expand the database to include Delaware, Maryland, New York and New Jersey, as well as an upcoming launch of a version for the Android.

Penn State Extension gives local residents easy access to the resources and expertise of the Penn State University. Through exceptional programs, publications and events, Extension Educators deliver unbiased, research-based information to all Commonwealth citizens.