"Michelle does a good job promoting produce,” President says during pumpkin pit stop on Ground Force One...
First Lady Michelle Obama joined President Obama for one of his favorite pastimes this morning: Hopping off Ground Force One to make a foodie pit stop. Of course the stop was healthier than a couple of the eat n' greets the President has had on his own, like his Monday stop at a North Carolina general store to buy a bucketload of candy. Today's visit was to the kind of place Mrs. Obama has devoted herself to making popular: A farmers market. Located in Hampton, Virginia, Wood’s Orchard Farm Market has been open for sixty years, and it was chock full of seasonal, locally grown delights, including huge pumpkins and produce, and laden with homemade jams and breads. (Above: The President and Mrs. Obama with a wagonload of pumpkins)
"You know Michelle does a good job promoting produce,” President Obama told owner Billy Wood. “She tries to get everyone to eat their vegetables."
Clad in wide-legged pants and a striped shirt, Mrs. Obama perused the pumpkins as the President chatted with Wood and other locals. The First Couple bought a couple of apples, a bag of peanuts, a jar of what seemed to be honey, and ten pumpkins to bring home to the White House, including one that weighed about 70 pounds. They paid cash. (Above: The President hauls a wagon of pumpkins out of the store, and carries his bag of goodies)
Yesterday, the President asked a North Carolina crowd not to tell his wife what he's been eating while on his three-day bus tour. She knows what he ate today: The First Couple stopped for a lunch at a Hampton pizzeria, where they were joined by four veterans. The two stops came after a morning visit to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, where both spoke at an event at which Mrs. Obama announced that the American Logistics Association (ALA) and their 270 affiliate companies have signed on to her Joining Forces campaign, and committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013.
Pool report & video from the farmers market:
At about 11:30 a.m. POTUS and FLOTUS, riding the imposing Ground Force One, stopped at a roadside farmer’s market in Hampton called “Wood’s Orchard Farm Market,” which was chock full of pumpkins. Owners Billy and Betty Wood said they have been in business for 60 years, married for 51, and working at this location on East Mercury Blvd. since the 1940s. A billboard read: “Pumpkin Patch Open Hayrides” and had hours of the rides on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Another sign read: “No credit cards under $10.” (Above: The President loads pumpkins on to Ground Force One)
POTUS and FLOTUS spent about 20 minutes inspecting pumpkins, as well as some other goods, such as fruit, jams and honey. Billy Wood informed the president that there are 8 varieties of sweet potatoes. A handmade sign on a pillar read: “Pie pumpkins $3.00 each.”
“You know Michelle does a good job promoting produce,” Obama replied. “She tries to get everyone to eat their vegetables.”
Obama talked a lot to the shopkeepers, but Michelle Obama was busy inspecting pumpkins. She seemed very interested in oversized white-colored ones, which Betty Wood later explained were called “full moon pumpkins.” Michelle Obama picked one up by wrapping both arms around it to load it into a metal rolling cart with a long metal handle. Betty Wood later estimated the pumpkin could weigh 70 pounds.
POTUS quipped: “Don’t hurt yourself now.” .. He yelled out to an aide: “We are we going to put it? In the back of the bus?”
Michelle Obama loaded more into the cart. “How many are you going to buy?” POTUS asked. “You want anything else?”
“No, we’ll have enough trouble getting these back,” she said.
POTUS approached the cash register. They had about 10 pumpkins, including two of the full moons. He also had two red apples, a bag of peanuts and a jar of yellow-colored syrup that appeared to possibly be honey. He handed Billy Wood some $20s. (We think the cost came to about $60, but it is not clear.)
Obama asked if they would take a picture together and also promised to send photos of the pumpkins back to the store.
“We’re going to send pictures of the pumpkins outside the White House,” he said, shortly before they carried the pumpkins back onto Ground Force One and the caravan rolled onward.
*Pool was Politico's Glenn Thrush. *AP photos, Telegraph UK video