White House Vegetable Garden


Michelle Obama is turning a small corner of the White House backyard into an organic vegetable garden, for use at family meals and also formal dinners. 

The real reason for the garden, she revealed, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at time when obesity has become a national concern. 

Kudos to her.  I have nothing bad to say about this and applaud her effort. 

The Obamas will feed their love of Mexican food with cilantro, tomatilloes and hot peppers. Lettuces will include red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic. There will be spinach, chard, collards and black kale. For desserts, there will be a patch of berries. And herbs will include some more unusual varieties, like anise hyssop and Thai basil. A White House carpenter who is a beekeeper will tend two hives for honey.

Total cost for the seeds, mulch, etc., is $200.

The plots will be in raised beds fertilized with White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control harmful bugs.

Cristeta Comerford, the White House’s executive chef, is eager to plan menus around the garden, and Bill Yosses, the pastry chef, is looking forward to berry season.

Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef who prepared healthful meals for the Obama family in Chicago and is an advocate of local food, will oversee the garden. The White House grounds crew and kitchen staff will do most of the work, but other White House staff members have volunteered.

“First of all,” Mrs. Obama said, “there’s nothing really cooler than coming to the White House and harvesting some of the vegetables and being in the kitchen with Cris and Sam and Bill, and cutting and cooking and actually experiencing the joys of your work.”

There really isn’t.  Since moving to Portland, I’ve enjoyed shopping at farms, farmer’s markets, growing my own produce, picking berries, etc.  The food tastes infintesimally better, I suspect from the effort of growing it, but also because taste components are lessened when shipped halfway across the globe to your local supermarket.

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