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June 6, 2011

"Three Sisters" make White House appearance

White House vegetable garden

The Three Sisters made an appearance at the White House last week, and we aren't talking about an R&B group.

First Lady Michelle Obama was back in the White House kitchen garden with school children, this time planting the "three sisters:" corn, beans and squash.

Mrs. Obama and Native American children from tribes across the country used an ancient planting technique in which corns, beans and squash are planting in such a way as to use the corn stalks to support the beans vines and the squash vines prevent weeds.

The first lady and the children also harvested some spring crops, and a Native American prayer ceremony was conducted to bless the harvest.

The guests were invited as part of the latest component of Mrs. Obama's childhood obesity campaign, Let's Move in Indian Country, which encourages the use of "culturally proficient" strategies to create food and fitness projects to make tribal communities healthier.

Continue reading ""Three Sisters" make White House appearance" »

Posted by Susan Reimer at 4:03 PM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

April 5, 2011

The first book on the "First Garden"

A year in advance of the scheduled publication of Michelle Obama's book on the White House vegetable garden, Clarion Books has released "First Garden: The White House Garden and How It Grew."

Written and illustrated by children's author Robbin Gourley, the children's book includes a forward by Alice Waters, who created The Edible Schoolyard campaign, and it includes recipes from the White House and watercolor drawings of the first lady and her school children helpers.

For more details about the book and a conversation with the author, who pretty much scooped the White House, check out Eddy Gehman Kohan's blob, Obamafodorama, She also got a "no comment" comment from the White House that seems a tad chilly.

 

 

Posted by Susan Reimer at 2:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

March 30, 2011

White House vegetable garden: plot thickens

 

White House vegetable garden
Here is a look at White House plans for Michelle Obama's 2011 vegetable garden, planted earlier this month with the help of local school children.

 

Notice that most of the crops are early spring crops. They will no doubt be replaced by summer crops in late May or June.

Posted by Susan Reimer at 1:04 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

March 24, 2011

White House vegetable garden: the book

First lady Michelle Obama will author a book about the White House vegetable garden, which will entered its third year of planting last week.

Just as she had the help of school children in planting and harvesting the garden on the south lawn of the White House, she will have the help of a ghostwriter for this book, to be published by Crown next spring.

The book will have recipes and stories from the first family. Mrs. Obama received no advance for writing the book and all proceeds will be donated to a charity. It will be published as a hardback, but also an Ebook and an enhanced multi-media E book.

Mrs. Obama has brought a tremendous amount of attention to children, healthy eating and obesity issues through the garden, and the produce itself has been used to feed the first family, White House guests as well as visitors to a nearby soup kitchen.

Mrs. Obama and her helpers planted this years crops in new raised beds.

Photo courtesy of Obamafoodorama

Posted by Susan Reimer at 11:45 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

November 2, 2010

White House vegetable garden: the weigh-in

 

The final tally is in, and the White House vegetable garden has produced more than a ton of food since it was planted in the spring of 2009.

According to the Obamafoodorama blog, the 1,500-square-foot garden produced 400 pounds of produce during last month's fall harvest alone, including the first-ever White House pumpkins grown on White House grounds. About 100 pounds of that harvest was in sweet potatoes alone.

The fall vegetables from the garden also include peppers, kohlrabi, lettuces, broccoli, eggplant and herbs. School children who helped first lady Michelle Obama harvest the vegetables also weighed them.

"We've gotten a lot of food out of a pretty small space," senior policy advisor Sam Kass told the Foodorama.

Continue reading "White House vegetable garden: the weigh-in" »

Posted by Susan Reimer at 8:00 AM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

October 21, 2010

White House vegetable garden harvest: Year 2

Photo credit: Reuters

It was harvest time at the White House vegetable garden this week, and first lady Michelle Obama munched a baby turnip, dug up giant sweet potatoes and snipped pumpkins off the vine as she worked alongside local schoolchildren and world-class chefs.

One sweet potato weighed in at 4 pounds, drawing an admiring stare from the first lady.

"You guys have witnessed the first White House pumpkins," she told the children as they loaded up wheelbarrows and weighed in their haul.

Students from Tubman Elementary and Bancroft Elementary harvested broccoli, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and other fall crops, and later, White House chefs demonstrated how to pickle vegetables.

The Associated Press also reports that Mrs. Obama  posed for a group photo with the harvest team, and at first prompted the children to smile and say "cheese." But then she had a better idea, declaring, "Let's say 'veggies!'"

Continue reading "White House vegetable garden harvest: Year 2" »

Posted by Susan Reimer at 11:39 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

July 6, 2010

Potus among the eggplant

 

White House vegetable garden
Obamafoodorama is on the scene again, with pictures of President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid touring the White House vegetable garden last week before a big meeting on the oil spill in the gulf. 

 

The moment, as captured by President Obama's presidential photographer, Pete Souza, is the first official photo released of the President in Mrs. Obama's garden.

It reminds me of home. My DH is proud of my gardens and tells his friends about them. But he is isn't quite sure what it is all about!

Posted by Susan Reimer at 9:00 AM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

April 27, 2010

White House vegetable garden: it's not organic

White House vegetable garden

Associated Press photo

News flash: The White House vegetable garden isn't organic.

No kidding.

It was never meant to be.

Sam Kass, the White House chef who oversees the garden, says the staff uses only natural, not synthetic, fertilizers and pesticides. But there was never any intention to apply the strict organic standards to the garden.

“To come out and say (organic) is the one and only way, which is how this would be interpreted, doesn't make any sense,” Kass told the Associated Press during a tour of the garden.

Continue reading "White House vegetable garden: it's not organic" »

Posted by Susan Reimer at 3:09 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

April 1, 2010

White House vegetable garden: a photo essay

On the occasion of the installation of the second White House vegetable garden, our friends over at USA Today produced a slide show of the first year, from its humble beginnings to its appearance on "The Iron Chef" to its place on the gingerbread replica of the White House during Christmas.

Take a look.

Posted by Susan Reimer at 2:29 PM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

White House vegetable garden: First Lady's ratings grow, too.

The CBS Evening News reports that bok choy isn't the only thing growing as a result of the White House vegetable garden:


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Posted by Susan Reimer at 12:49 PM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

White House vegetable garden: under the snow

The planting of Season II of the White House vegetable garden has also been the occasion to learn more about the garden's success during one of the worst winters in East Coast memory.

White House chef and Food Initiative Coordinatory Sam Kass reports that the winter garden produced about 50 pounds of lettuces, arugula, garlic, peas, turnips and carrots. And the time-lapse photography of the garden during the winter storms and during the spring melt is pretty cool.

The garden, described by Kass as "11-hundred square feet of pure joy," will grow by 500 square feet this year so more vegetable varieties can be grown. Among the new additions: bok choy, mustard greens and artcichokes, to be joined later by figs, corn, melons and pumpkins.

Posted by Susan Reimer at 11:14 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

Michelle and the kid gardeners: a healthy conversation

White House vegetable garden

Photo: White House vegetable garden during first season

Here's a portion of the transcript of yesterday's planting of the second season of the White House vegetable garden. First Lady Michelle Obama is trying to get the kids to guess how many pounds of vegetables the garden produced:

Last October, with all the work that you guys did, you know what we were able to do?  We harvested over 55 different kinds of healthy foods -- 55 in that little piece of dirt -- 55.  And you know how many pounds of fruits and vegetables we harvested?  Can you guess?  Give me a guess.  What’s your closest guess?  Yes.

 

CHILD:  One hundred and four?

 

MRS. OBAMA:  No, higher.  What?

 

CHILDREN:  Eight hundred?

 

MRS. OBAMA:  Eight hundred?  Close.

 

CHILD:  Five hundred?

 

MRS. OBAMA:  Higher.

 

CHILD:  One thousand.

 

MRS. OBAMA:  One thousand pounds.  One thousand pounds of food.  Can you imagine that?  That’s pretty amazing. 

 

Continue reading "Michelle and the kid gardeners: a healthy conversation" »

Posted by Susan Reimer at 8:59 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

March 31, 2010

Michelle Obama begins vegetable garden anew

Michelle Obamam garden

The sun finally came out today - just in time for Michelle Obama to begin planting her second annual vegetable garden. The first lady again invited students to join her as she got her hands dirty with Mother Nature. The White House garden has been so successful that some two dozen book deals have been offered to Michelle Obama and her garden.  We'll have more photos later. But for now, here's the AP report:

WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama is welcoming spring to the White House by replanting her popular vegetable garden with the help of local elementary school students.

Mrs. Obama told the students that the garden grew food last year that fed many people and that it started a national conversation about healthy eating. She told the students that no matter where people live or how old they may be, they can still garden. She said it's fun digging around in the dirt.

To illustrate that point, the first lady knelt in the garden and planted two rows of broccoli as well as some rhubarb. Joining Mrs. Obama were Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House chefs.

 

Associated Press Photo

Posted by Michelle Deal-Zimmerman at 5:50 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

March 30, 2010

White House vegetable garden: The second season

 White House vegetable garden

First Lady Michelle Obama and her garden helpers from Washington's Bancroft Elementary School will be planting the White House vegetable garden -Season 2 - Wednesday at 4 p.m. Stay tuned to Garden Variety for updates and photos.

Posted by Susan Reimer at 2:00 PM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

March 24, 2010

Roasting the White House vegetable garden

President Obama was busy with health care and Mrs. Obama was in New York seeing plays on Broadway with the girls, and both missed the annual Gridiron Dinner for Washington correspondents.

In keeping with the tradition that absolutely nothing is sacred, the White House vegetable garden took a lampooning at the dinner and comedy skit show.

A chorus line of dancing vegetables sang about the garden, to the tune of The Beatles song, "Octopus' Garden."

Special thanks to Lynn Sweet at the DAILY FLOTUS blog for these lyrics.

 

 

Continue reading "Roasting the White House vegetable garden" »

Posted by Susan Reimer at 10:15 AM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

January 13, 2010

White House vegetable garden: stunt doubles

White House vegetable garden

Photo courtesy of The Food Network

Bird-dogging investigative journalists tells us that the vegetables used in the Jan. 3 episode of the Iron Chef -- which were supposed to have been harvested from the White House vegetable garden -- were actually stunt doubles.

And Lynn Sweet, who writes the Daily Flotus blog for Politics Daily asks why the viewing audience was misled? 

Apparently, the time lag between the White House harvest scene filmed in October and the cooking competition filmed a week later in New York was too great for the vegetables to have remained fresh.

First Lady Michelle Obama famously appeared with competitors Bobbie Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batalli, who were joined by White House chef Cristeta Comerford, and charged them with making healthy meals with whatever they could find in the garden.

Marion Burros of the New York Times and Eddie Gehman Kohan of the Obamafoodorama.com revealed the use of "stunt doubles" in November.

Continue reading "White House vegetable garden: stunt doubles" »

Posted by Susan Reimer at 2:04 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

December 17, 2009

White House hoop dreams


And you thought they'd put the White House vegetable garden to bed for the season...

As we reported here on Garden Variety, the White House has enclosed the first lady's vegetable garden in "hoop houses", or row covers, to retain the sun's warmth and grow winter crops.

In this YouTube video, chef Sam Kass explains the practice and on the White House blog, he says the garden has been planted with a winter crop of spinach, lettuce, carrots, mustard greens, chard and cabbage.

"I especially look forward to cooking with the spinach," he writes. "Winter spinach is extra sweet. Sugar doesn’t freeze, so spinach produces extra sugars in the winter to protect itself from frost. It tastes almost like candy. We are going to make soups, salads and, of course, Chef Comerford’s famous cream-less creamed spinach."

Kass also writes that the remaining garden will be planted with a cover crop of rye to protect the top soil.

On the video, Kass introduces a couple of U.S. Department of Agriculture bosses who chat up their "Know Your Farmer" program and announce plans to help farmers purchase their own hoop houses to extend their growing season and increase their income.

The rock star White House cook is clearly the draw on the small screen, don't you agree?

 

Posted by Susan Reimer at 10:59 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

December 9, 2009

White House vegetable garden

 

 

It is a different kind of hoops at the White House, where President Obama regularly plays pick-up basketball with friends and aides.

Perhaps taking the advice from a young woman intern the Slow Food blog, the White House has put so-called hoop houses over the White House vegetable garden, to trap the heat of the sun and continue to grow crops all winter.

Emily Stephenson made the suggestion, and even included diagrams of how the hoop houses could best be installed.

And, sure enough, the hoops when up and then the coverings went on. (Not the plastic that is ordinarily used, but a bio-friendly fabric.)

Eddie Gehman Kohan, who does such an excellent job of
keeping track of such things on the blog Obama Foodorama, says the White House is growing lettuces, cabbage, winter radishes, onions, broccoli, turnips and carrots, which will only add to the harvest already calculated to be more than 1,000 pounds.

The White House is located deep in Zone 7 so, barring terrible cold, the garden should remain warm, cozy and productive in its sunny spot on the South Lawn.

A hoop house is actually much larger that what the White House has installed, which might more correctly be called row covers. You can actually walk inside a real hoop house and tend plants on tables.

But these row covers can easily be flipped off for weeding, watering or harvesting.

Photos courtesy of Obama Foodorama

Posted by Susan Reimer at 11:14 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

November 10, 2009

Elmo looove Michelle!

As promised, first lady Michelle Obama appears on "Sesame Street" today to talk about vegetables and to help the show celebrate its 40th birthday. "Sesame Street" aired for the very first time on this date in 1969.

She and Elmo and several children plant tomato, cucumber, carrot and lettuce seeds in a makeshift garden box.

They are digging the soil when Big Bird arrives and asks if she and he are related, after all he likes seeds, too.

"You're tall like me," the yellow one says. "Maybe we're from the same family."

Before the show is over, the vegetables themselves come to life and cheer for the first lady - as can only happen on "Sesame Street."

The first lady's vegetable garden and her chef, Sam Kass, had starring roles in last week's episode of "The Biggest Loser."

And Mrs. Obama will appear on an "Iron Chef America" episode to be aired this winter in which Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse and White House head chef Cristeta Comerford have to come up against a recipe around the vegetables from her garden.

(Needlesstosay, that episode has already been taped)

The White House vegetable garden has taken on a life of its own, garnering more attention for the first lady's message of healthy eating than anyone could have imagined.

"We're trying to reach as many people as possible,"  Mrs. Obama's spokesperson, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, told the Associated Press. 

"And by working with platforms with simliar goals like Irong Chef, The Biggest Loser and Sesame Street, we're able to do just that."

And speaking of good press, assistant chef and vegetable garden overseer Kass is getting his share. He was the subject of a couple of stories in the New York Times and another in People magazine.

He's already made People's 100 Beautiful people. Can "The Sexiest Man Alive" be far behind?

 

Posted by Susan Reimer at 10:18 AM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

November 5, 2009

Politics and the White House vegetable garden -- again

Sean Hannity of Fox News is complaining about the timing of an episode of The Biggest Loser in which the weight-loss contestants visit the White House vegetable garden -- on election night.

The contestants harvested some vegetables from the garden, alongside White House chef and vegetable garden overlord Sam Kass, and made a healthy dish on the episode.

Meanwhile, the Democrats and the Obama administration were losing a couple of governorships.

"You know, I think there could have been a more fitting night to air this episode, but I guess not," he writes.

Since the episode aired after the polls were closed, it isn't clear what has Hannity's shorts in a bunch.

What is clear is that not all the cabbage heads are in the garden.

Here are some pictures of The Biggest Losers at the White House.

Posted by Susan Reimer at 10:45 AM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

November 4, 2009

White House vegetable garden-sort of

Sam KassThere are a couple of stories in the New York Times this morning that are worth reading if you are a fan of the White House kitchen garden.

In the first, Rachel Swarns profiles Sam Kass, who was a personal chef for the Obamas during their busy campaign days and moved with them to the White House. He has been Michelle Obama's devoted partner in the White House kitchen garden and the White House farmers' market and in all her healthy eating initiatives.

Kass has been attending briefings in the West Wing and sitting in on policy discussions, and past White House chefs find this astonishing. He recently sent an email asking if the White House had a point person on "colony collapse," the mysterious disappearance of the bees that pollinate our food.

In a second story, long-time Times food writer Marian Burros describes a White House kitchen overrun by celebrity chefs - from Alton Brown to Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse. And all of them are cooking out of the White House garden. The garden will star in a episode of Iron Chef in January.

I continue to be amazed at the power of that garden. It is just this side of extraordinary for a 1,1,00 square-foot patch of vegetables to have the impact that it has, from the new national attention on childhood obesity to the blogging Obama haters who are convinced the garden is either faked or contaminated.

Photo credit: Associated Press

Posted by Susan Reimer at 10:40 AM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

October 30, 2009

White House vegetable garden: fall harvest

White House vegetable garden

Photo credit: AFP/Getty

First lady Michelle Obama and her elementary school team returned to the White House vegetable garden Thursday for the final harvest of the season, and they sent a whole lot of produce to a nearby soup kitchen.

It took the 30 school children from Bancroft Elementary, who have been working with the first lady since the garden was planted in the spring, about a half hour to fill baskets and bowls and at least one wheelbarrow with huge sweet potatoes, carrots, fennel, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, turnips, eggplant, peppers, tomatillos and greens -- a total of 223 pounds.

Most of the produce is going to Miriam's Kitchen, where Mrs. Obama helped serve lunch earlier this year.

The garden had already produced 740 pounds of food, some of which has been served at White House events. The garden cost about $180 for seeds and seedlings and soil amendments, the White House says.

But more than the pounds of produce, the White House vegetable garden has produced a renewed awareness - in the country and, indeed, the world -- of healthy eating and the pleasures of growing your own food.

I mean, even the Queen of England planted a vegetable garden after America's first lady set the example.

For lots more detail on the afternoon in the White House vegetable garden, and more pictures, go to Obama Foodorama.

White House vegetable garden

Photo credit: Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press

Posted by Susan Reimer at 11:03 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

October 29, 2009

White House vegetable garden

The school kids are back! The school kids are back!

The students from Washington's Bancroft Elementary School, plus students from Kimball Elementary, will be back at the White House vegetable garden today with first lady Michelle Obama.

The occassion is the fall harvest of the garden. Staff and volunteers from Miriam's Kitchen, the local DC food shelter that has received multiple donations from the White House of produce and honey, will also attend.

Check back here on Garden Variety for an update and photos!

Posted by Susan Reimer at 8:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

October 20, 2009

White House honey

The White House is buzzing with activity, and it isn't all in the West Wing.

Dale Haney, the White House horticulturist and grounds superintendent, told NBC's "Today" show Monday that at least 100 gallons of honey have been collected from the bee hive that was built as a companion to Michelle Obama's vegetable garden.

Mrs. Obama was able to present pretty jars of the honey to the spouses at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh earlier this fall, and a guest chef used some to prepare food for a recent Latin celebration.

Those who follow gardening news know that a mysterious something is wiping out bee colonies and the pollination of the fruits and vegetables we eat in this country is in trouble.

It is often the case that fruit tree orchards and other farmers "rent" bees during the spring in order to facilitate pollination and, because of the bee shortage, those rental fees have skyrocketed and there is great competition for the portable bees.

Does anybody else see a deficit reduction tool here?

Posted by Susan Reimer at 3:12 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

October 15, 2009

White House honey

White House honeyWhile the school children and the first lady were busy growing vegetables on the South Lawn of the White House this summer, the bees were busy, too.

Michelle Obama had a large bee hive installed near the garden, and it produced plenty of honey.

Enough, in fact, that she was able to give each of the wives of the heads of state attending the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh a very attractive jar of "White House Honey."

White House honey

And this week, at a Fiesta Latina concert at the White House, guest chef Maricel Presilla was asked to help tell the pan-Latin story through finger food.

Presilla, chef and co-owner of Zafra and Cucharamama, two restaurants in Hoboken, N.J., said every item on Tuesday evening's menu was chosen to showcase some aspect of Latin culture.

Presilla said she was happily surprised to find tomatillos growing in the White House kitchen garden, and the chef used them in a hot pepper sauce she added to the menu.

Presilla also harvested fennel and parsley from the first lady's garden and used honey from the White House beehives.

 “I felt like a farmer — a farmer at the White House,” Presilla said. “I don't feel like I'm at the seat of power. I feel like I'm in a great kitchen.”

 

Posted by Susan Reimer at 8:30 AM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

October 1, 2009

White House vegetable garden

White House vegetable garden

Photo credit: White House Photo Blog/Brooks Kraft

Garden Variety readers have been asking how the first vegetable gardening season at the White House concluded, and the answer is, it isn't over yet.

Eddie Gehman Kohan, the tireless reporter behind the Obamafoodorama blog, reports that fall crops have been planted, including pumpkins. And a high-tech composter has been added as well. And so have bird houses, to go allow with the bee hive.

The White House is offering tours of its gardens later this month, but the vegetable garden is not on it. Only the formal gardens. And only to a few visitors.

This fall's tours are scheduled from 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, Oct. 17, and from 10 AM to 3 PM on Sunday, Oct. 18th.

Tours will be cancelled in the event of inclement weather, so call the 24-hour information line at 202-456-7041 to check on the status.

Tickets are free, but are only handed out in person by the National Park Service, on the days of the event.

These will be distributed at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion, located at 15th and E Streets, beginning at 8:00 AM each day, on a first-come, first-served basis. The tickets are timed, and are one ticket per person, including children.

Posted by Susan Reimer at 8:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

September 17, 2009

First lady shops new farmers' market

White House Farmer's market

 Photo credit: Associated Press

First lady Michelle Obama bought cheese and chocolate milk at the launch of a new farmers' market blocks from the White House Thursday afternoon.

"I've never seen so many people so excited about fruits and vegetables!" she said to a crowd of about 300 shoppers.

Before shopping, Mrs. Obama spoke about the importance of healthy eating, which she said gives people the energy to get through the day, according to the Associated Press.

Mrs. Obama encouraged Americans to get to know the people who grow their food. And she said that farmers markets are especially important in neighborhoods where access to healthy options are limited.

"A farmers market is not just about vegetables, it's about community," Mrs. Obama said.

It was a perfect forum for the first lady, who has been speaking out for healthy eating since planting the White House vegetable garden in the spring.

Behind her in the picture above is long-time Obama chef and White House assistant executive chef Sam Kass, who made a presentation to a couple of neighborhood groups to get their support for the market. Kass has been Mrs. Obama's right-hand man in her healthy eating initiative.

Posted by Susan Reimer at 5:27 PM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

September 16, 2009

First Lady? First customer?

 

White House vegetable garden

 

Photo credit: Associated Press

First Lady Michelle Obama is schedule to attend the opening of Washington's newest farmers' market at 3 p.m. Thursday. It's located just a tomato's-throw from the White House on Vermont Avenue NW.

The President made an off-hand reference about the possibility of a farmers' market near the White House in an interview on The Huffington Post in August, and White House chef Sam Kass seems to have run with the idea, personally making the case to several community groups who were asked to sign off on the project.

Mrs. Obama will use the opening of the market to make her case, again, for healthy eating and access to fresh fruits and vegetables. These are the principles behind her decision to plant her own vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House.

The market will sell fresh fruits and vegetables; locally raised meats, cheeses and fresh baked breads and will be open every Thursday afternoon into October.

No word yet on whether the First Family will reserve a booth to sell their extra tomatoes and zucchini.

Posted by Susan Reimer at 1:25 PM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

September 11, 2009

White House farmers' market

It's a go for a farmers' market near the White House.

The Washington Post is reporting that the appropriate permits have been signed and issued and that White House assistant chef Sam Kass got a couple of community groups on his side with a presentation.

The market will be open Thursday afternoons, beginning Sept. 17, on a section of Vermont Avenue NW just a block from the White House and draw from 17 farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

No word on whether Michelle Obama's garden will be one of them.

Posted by Susan Reimer at 12:01 PM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

September 10, 2009

White House Farmer's Market?

We here at Garden Variety floated this idea a few weeks back, and it looks like somebody has picked up on it.

There is movement afoot to open a farmer's market very near the White House, where First Lady Michelle Obama is growing plenty of her own vegetables.

The Washington Post is reporting that a permit request has been filed, and it has the support of the White House chefs. No one is saying for sure that Mrs. Obama is involved, but they are hinting that the idea has her support.

The market would be located on a little-used part of Vermont Avenue NW, about a block from the White House, the Post reports.

During an interview with the Huffington Post in August, the President hinted at the possibility of such a farmer's market while talking about the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunches.

 

Posted by Susan Reimer at 1:09 PM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

August 31, 2009

White House vegetable garden

In this video produced by the White House and posted on AOL, First Lady Michelle Obama and assistant White House chef Sam Kass discuss the origins and the goals of the first White House vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt planted hers during World War II. Mrs. Obama said the idea for the garden began as a way to change the eating habits and the food decisions of her family. It has since exploded both in terms if impact and imitation. The video also shows time-lapse photos of the garden over several months - giving lie to all those rumors that the garden was "faked."

Posted by Susan Reimer at 12:45 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

August 20, 2009

A White House Farmer's Market?

I can see it now.

The Obama family outside the White House, working out of the back of a pick-up truck, selling vegetables from Michelle's garden and the kids making change out of a tin cash box.

That's the vision that comes to mind when the President discusses healthy eating, getting more fresh vegetables into school lunches and the possibility of a White House farmer's market.

Read his comments on the Huffington Post.

 

Posted by Susan Reimer at 6:25 PM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

August 13, 2009

White House sludge update

Meanwhile...

Obama Foodorama, a well-researched and well-written blog about Obama administration's food policies, reports that a retired White House groundkeeper confirms that reconditioned sludge was only applied once to the White House south lawn, in 1985.

Though President Clinton issued a broad directive to institute more environmentally friendly landscaping techniques, he was not in the White House when the sludge was applied, according to White House groundskeeper Irvin Williams, who retired last year after 59 years of service. That would have been during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

As bogger Eddie Gehman Kohan points out, the Clintons, too, have been "slandered" as having "poisoned" the White House grounds during this crazy campaign to discredit Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiative.

 

Posted by Susan Reimer at 1:37 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

Getting the lead out

White House vegetable gardenI wrote earlier this week about the persistent rumors that the White House vegetable garden had "toxic" levels of lead caused by an application of fertilizer during the Clinton administration that was manufacturered from sewage sludge.

It seems that every day, some new blog, Web site or goofy publication reprints the rumor that the lead levels are so high that the First Lady will not allow her family to eat the produce from the garden and blah, blah, blah.

This, despite the repeated reassurance from Michelle Obama's press office that the lead level - 93 parts per million - was far below the 400 ppm that might cause some concern.

Well, as the New York Times reports, the White House has again tested the soil and found the lead levels to be about 14 ppm. Sam Kass, assistant White House chef and head gardener, was even trotted out for a photo op to help make the point.

The White House attributed the astonishingly low level to all the organic matter that was worked into the garden before it was planted. 

The lead level is as low as it might be in an area where there are no cars, which pollute the soil as well as the air. 

Not that any of the cabbage heads out there are going to believe it.

Photo of Sam Kass/ Associated Press

Posted by Susan Reimer at 12:57 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

July 3, 2009

You read it here first

The New York Times is reporting on its political blog that lead has been found in the White House kitchen garden.

Garden Variety reported that fact previously, noting that the lead level found in the ground was 93 parts per million, far below the level of 400 parts per million, which requires remediation.

Lead is not unusual in urban soil. And the lead found in the White House dirt is far below the lead levels that can reach several thousand parts per million in cities.

 

Posted by Susan Reimer at 4:36 PM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        

June 30, 2009

White House garden guide

 

GOOD Magazine has an amazing illustration of the White House vegetable garden.

It not only shows the layout of the First Garden, but also compares the number of home gardens in 2008 and 2009. According to GOOD, gardens are up 7 million this year. Not sure what their data source is, but it's still good news!

The illustration also has space for the White House's smallest First Family member:

Continue reading "White House garden guide" »

Posted by Maryann James at 10:47 AM |
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden
        
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About Susan Reimer
Susan Reimer has spent 16 years writing about raising kids - among other topics - in her column for The Baltimore Sun. And every time son Joseph or daughter Jessie passed another milestone - driver's license, college, wedding or a move to a new military duty station - she has planted another garden. Now she will be writing about those gardens - and yours - here on Garden Variety.

Susan isn't an expert gardener, but she wasn't an expert mother, either. Both - the kids and the gardens - seem to be doing well in spite of her.

She lives in Annapolis with her husband, Gary Mihoces, who loves to cut his grass but has noticed that there seems to be less of it every time the kids pass another milestone.
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