Friday, August 27, 2010

The Obamas Are Martha's Vineyard Locavores, White House Says

East Wing announces local food sourcing for home-cooked presidential vacation meals; restaurant choices spotlight local foods, too
Since arriving on the island of Martha's Vineyard more than a week ago, locavorism has been the policy at the First Family's up-island vacation rental compound, according to the White House.

Vegetables from farms and gardens around the Vineyard have been used to create meals at Blue Heron Farm for President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their many guests, said East Wing spokesperson Semonti Stephens. These include basil, cilantro, corn, kale, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, radishes, rosemary, tomatoes and turnips. (Above: President Obama greets diners at Nancy's restaurant in Oak Bluffs on Wednesday; the eatery features local seafood)

Blue Heron Farm, a 28.5 acre multi-million dollar estate, has its own vegetable garden, as well as an apple orchard, in addition to a gym, basketball court, and stretch of private beach. Stephens, when revealing the Vineyard locavore policy to AP, wouldn't specify exactly what is being cooked at the Summer White House, but assistant chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass is with the Obamas on island. Although the White house and Kass support all kinds of Ag endeavors, his focus on locally sourced foods is, of course, as bright as Mrs. Obama's, with the White House Kitchen Garden being the showpiece for the aesthetic. The Vineyard, a large island off the coast of Massachusetts, has many active farms.

Eating locally is often defined as consuming foods that were raised, grown, or caught within 100 miles of the eaters' location, and locavorism is credited with all kinds of benefits, from reducing carbon emissions from transport, to boosting the nutrition value of foods, to supporting local growers and rural economies, among other things.

Vineyard locavore restaurants are Obama picks
The restaurants that the First Family and friends have visited for dinner on island feature locally sourced foods, too. These include State Road and The Sweet Life Cafe for dinner. State Road has its own garden, in addition to patronizing Vineyard farms and fisherfolk from the Vineyard and the Eastern Seaboard. Nancy's, an eatery known for its fried seafood feasts, enjoyed an Obama visit for lunch, and they, too, source from local waters. Even the restaurant at the members-only club The Boathouse, where Mrs. Obama lunched on Tuesday, claims local sourcing on its menu. (Above: The President and First Lady leave State Road)

The Boston Herald is making much of the Obama local veggie festival, noting in a headline Michelle Obama The First Faster, a reference to the fruit and vegetable cleanse Mrs. Obama described in her cover-story interview for the September issue of Ladies' Home Journal.

The Wednesday visit to Nancy's, in an ABC video:

*Top photo by Pete Souza/White House; second from Getty; video from ABC.