Friday, October 29, 2010

Michelle Obama's New Magic Number: 2,000

Milestones for Kitchen Garden & Chefs Move to Schools...
When First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the Fall Harvest of the Kitchen Garden on October 21, an impressive array of vegetables were taken from the South Lawn soil, including giant sweet potatoes, peppers, kohlrabi, lettuces, broccoli, eggplant, herbs, and the first-ever presidential pumpkins grown at the White House,

Mrs. Obama, the school kids, the White House chefs and and acclaimed guest chefs at the event busily weighed the crops, but no poundage number was formally announced. This week, Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass told reporters that to date, 2,000 pounds of produce has been grown in the 1,500 square foot garden since it was first planted in the Spring of 2009. About 400 pounds came from the garden during the Fall Harvest, with about 100 pounds of that being just from the sweet potato crop.

"We've gotten a lot of food out of a pretty small space," Kass said at the Harvest. "This is not a big garden." The photo, at top, is of Kass' hands, holding some of the poundage notes that the student garden helpers scribbled as they weighed the veggies.

This week, Kass also announced a new number for the chefs enrolled in the Chefs Move to Schools project: That's now at 2,000, as well. It's unclear if the White House chefs are counted in that official tally: Kass, Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses have adopted Tubman Elementary School in Washington, DC as their own school for Chefs Move to School. Above: Mrs. Obama and the kids examine some of the giant sweet potatoes at the veggie weighing station during the Harvest; Kass is in green, and Comerford is center, in white.

Related: More on chef Daniel Boulud's visit to the White House for the Harvest is here. The recipe for Kitchen Garden Pickles is here. The economic impact of Mrs. Obama's gardening outfit is here.

*Photos by EGK/Obama Foodorama