Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Artisan Ice Cream Makers Invited To Sit With First Lady For President's State Of The Union Address

"We are deeply honored," said Penny Ice Creamery's Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis
Critics who love to say that First Lady Michelle Obama intends to ban sweets from America's tables will get a big surprise on Tuesday night at 9 PM EST. Mrs. Obama has invited Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis, the owners of Santa Cruz, California's The Penny Ice Creamery, to sit with her during President Obama's State of The Union address. (Above: Davis, left, and Baker in their shop)

The frozen treat duo use organic, locally sourced ingredients to make small, handmade batches of creatively flavored ice creams, such as Olive Oil Sea Salt Chocolate Ripple, Candy Cap Mushroom, and New Orleans Coffee. They'll join Mrs. Obama and her 22 other guests, and Dr. Jill Biden, in her special First Lady's Box. Other invitees include family members and heroes of the Tucson Tragedy; Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, to whom President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor last year; high-achieving high school students; and business CEOs.

>The First Lady's
full guest list is here

How'd California ice cream makers, whose shop opened just last August, get the honor of being seated with the First Lady for one of the President's most anticipated speeches of the year? Davis and Baker made a YouTube video thanking President Obama and Members of Congress for the $250,000 Recovery Act Small Business loan that allowed them to start their business. The video caught the attention of the White House, which reciprocated with its own video of Vice President Joe Biden telephoning the couple to congratulate them on their sweet success.

"The SBA Recovery Act funding allowed them to not only open the shop, but also to employ eleven people, purchase American-made equipment, and to hire nearly twenty local businesses to design and renovate the space," the White House noted when announcing Baker and Davis' invitation to sit with Mrs. Obama.

The White House video:

Onscreen, the Vice President told Baker and Davis that he was going to visit The Penny Ice Creamery.

"I'm comin' for ice cream," Biden said. "I am a genuine lover of ice cream. I don't drink, I don't smoke, but I eat a lot of ice cream."

But instead, Baker and Davis will now be in DC...and at the very least, they will get to meet Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden.

"We are deeply honored to stand in for hardworking small business owners across America at the State of the Union," Davis and Baker wrote on their website on Monday night.

Last year's State of the Union Address was notable, in part, because President Obama gave Mrs. Obama a very public shout-out for her childhood obesity campaign, which was formally launched one month later at the White House, on February 9, 2010. This year's is notable because Democrats and Republicans have agreed to sit next to each other, in a break from the annual tradition that has the parties on different sides of the chamber. At last count, five dozen mixed pairs of lawmakers had agreed to be seated next to each other.

>Check out the White House's interactive feature for the First Lady's Box.

Baker and Davis' original YouTube video:

*White House video; and video by Baker and Davis; top photo by Curtis Cartier, Santa Cruz.com; photo of Mrs. Obama by EGK/ObamaFoodorama.com