Those glossy maps of Brentwood area produce stands that have been a mainstay of the U-pick season may be replaced in the next few years with a handy mobile application for smartphones.
The city of Brentwood wants to develop a handheld mobile app that will promote agricultural tourism and locally grown produce in addition to businesses, wineries, restaurants and lodging options in the area. The city's agricultural enterprise committee will ask the Brentwood City Council in early 2013 to allocate $2,800 toward the launch of a Brentwood Grown program app.
Brentwood Grown is a branding campaign that encourages the public to buy Brentwood produce and improves its visibility in grocery stores and markets. Originally, Harvest Time in Brentwood asked the city to fund an app for its ongoing marketing efforts, which draw more than 200,000 visitors to Brentwood annually.
"I like the idea of the app. It is a great idea," said Erick Stonebarger, a councilman and farmer who is on the committee. "If we are going to pay for it, it should be a Brentwood Grown app."
Through a Brentwood Grown app, Stonebarger said the city would have more control over the content and design. The city plans to use a Sacramento-based company called GoLocalApps to produce the app. It has designed apps for various wine regions, downtowns and cities, and its apps include Livermore Valley Wineries and San Luis Obispo Wineries.
According to Stonebarger, this would create a strong partnership with Harvest Time, which would have its own tab on the app. Brentwood Economic Development Director Alex Greenwood agreed that Brentwood Grown is a broader brand with some marketing advantages.
"It will penetrate a market that they have never been able to reach before," Greenwood said.
City officials hope to have this app available in time for the start of the U-pick season next spring. Harvest Time officials said that they may still launch their own app because at least 35 percent of its website visitors are using mobile phones.
"We are finding as times change, we need to adjust with the times," Harvest Time Vice President Sean McCauley said. "We are trying to be proactive and ahead of the curve."
McCauley added that farming is what's unique about the Brentwood region and it's what draws visitors to its businesses and farms.
"It is the thing that we have that nobody else has around here," he said.
Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or email@example.com.