Farm Star Living, a new, free app for Android and iOS, promises to make it easy for foodies to find and learn about restaurants specializing in meals made from ingredients from local farms in the U.S. Does it succeed? Yes, but it could use some more features.
The concept, based on the Farm Star Living website, is deliciously simple. With the app, you can search for nearby restaurants, or those in other towns, that are part of the farm-to-table (aka farm-to-fork) movement. You get the restaurant’s address and phone number; a link to its website; reviews (if there are any); a description (which usually reads as if written by a member of the restaurant’s staff); and buttons to place a call and get directions. You can also tap a button to write your own review.
Tapping the "By Location" button shows you the restaurants on a map. You can further filter the results by choosing a mile radius, such as "any," "10," and "15."
The app also lets you explore farms you can visit by tapping the "FarmFun" button.
The app includes restaurants across the U.S. But when I looked at a list of restaurants in less densely populated cities, including Richmond, Va., and Asheville, N.C., restaurants in my city (San Francisco) were also included. Say what? It would be nice if, at least in the future, the app linked to Open Table, so you could easily make a reservation. I’d also like to see a few photos of the food from each restaurant. Finally, there are ads that sit at the bottom of the app screen. Some, such as Google’s ad for its iOS search app, are hard to ignore.
But app developers need to make money, too. If you’re a farm-to-table fanatic, you need this app. It's unique, too; my initial research didn’t uncover anything quite like it for iOS or Android.