A couple days ago, version 2.1 of Locavore was approved in the iTunes Store. The biggest new change is the way recipes work. I’ve removed integration with Epicurious and replaced it with the wonderful work of Foodista. Recipes are an untapped (in my opinion) aspect of the local food movement. Now, not only are the recipes listed within the app, but I’m able to find recipes sorted by those that have the most in-season ingredients. It’s awesome!
I will tell a little story about how this happened, because to me it illustrates some reasons why I think big companies are unable to see good ideas, much less act on them. And why, eventually, they shoot themselves in the foot.
When Locavore first launched, I linked to an Epicurious search results page from the food detail page. Somehow, Epicurious caught wind of this and notified Apple that I hadn’t gotten their permission to do this. That’s the first weird thing… big companies have enough sway to require permission to load their web page within an app.
Apple threatened to yank the app unless I got their permission. I wrote to five different email addresses at Epicurious and none of them ever replied. Eventually, I get a phone call from someone at Epicurious. They offer to buy Locavore, I give them a crazy price that they decline, and then they say they will give me permission to link to their search results page from within the app. It takes them a month plus to draw up the papers, at which point I’ve already updated the app to close Locavore and open Safari with Epicurious’s search results page because Apple needed this to be resolved more quickly. Finally, they say the papers are drawn up, ask for my address, I give it to them 1 minute later, and to this day I have not seen these papers.
Foodista.com is a great small new company in Seattle that is indexing all of the recipes on the web. They are ambitious, extremely friendly (I visited the team here in Seattle a few months ago), and really excited about not only recipes, but all of the amazing new ways food, recipes, local food, and the love of it all can come together in this amazing new futuristic world called the present. They love food, they love the Internet, they blog and participate with their readers, they put on food conferences, they team with local chefs and bartenders for special events, and they constantly find new ways to work together with others. I love them.
After talking with them for half an hour, they agreed to open up their recipe api to me, link to me from their food detail pages, and allow me to include their recipes in Locavore. We brainstormed a dozen ideas on ways we could work together, and were also quick to do custom work that same day to make sure we could start working together immediately.
Locavore is all about knowing what’s in season. But how do you know what to do with what’s in season? Now, with Foodista’s help, you can get a custom list of recipes from all over the Internet, sorted by those that have the most in-season ingredients. That doesn’t exist anywhere right now. My guess is that in 5 years, it will be everywhere. And that’s a good thing. The difference between big, slow, companies and small fast ones like us are that WE WANT the future to get here. We want information to spread as quickly as possible and we want everyone to benefit from technology.
Also included in the new version of Locavore 2.1
- Farmers’ markets are now listed on a map so you can see exactly where you are in the local food ecosystem of your neighborhood.
- New data for the UK.
- New art!