Thursday, July 05, 2012

Bus Tour: President Obama Visits Bergman Orchards Farm Market In Port Clinton, Ohio

A very rare stop for fruits and vegetables on the campaign trail...
After continuing his public love affair with cheeseburgers and French fries during a lunch stop at Kozy Corners restaurant in Oak Harbor on Thursday, President Obama made a second food stop as he rolled through northern Ohio on his 'Betting on America' campaign bus tour. First Lady Michelle Obama, herself a cheeseburger lover who promotes healthy eating, *might* appreciate the gesture: The President dropped by Bergman Orchards Farm Market in Port Clinton, during a visit that wasn't noted on his official schedule for the day. The President mingled with supporters at the family-owned operation, and purchased a dozen ears of sweet corn, peaches, strawberries and cherries, for a total bill of $22.70. (Above: heading for the bus with his bounty)

"That's a pretty good deal right there," President Obama said. "You do know that we have some corn in the White House garden?"

Yes, corn is right now growing in Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden, though the President told his press pool that he would bring the Ohio corn home to the White House. He rarely purchases fruits and vegetables during his campaign trail outings, preferring instead to focus on cheeseburgers, ice cream, pizza, and chili hot dogs. The last time Mr. Obama visited a Farmers Market was ahead of Halloween, when he dropped by Wood’s Orchard Farm Market in Hampton, Virginia in October of 2011, purchasing pumpkins to be used at the White House for the seasonal, over-the-top decor.

"I am thinking we are going to be eating some [corn] over the weekend," the President said. "I'm just trying to count how many folks we will have."

Located close to Lake Erie, the Bergman operation has been serving northwest Ohio for over 150 years, according to its website, with produce coming primarily from a 500-acre family farm on the shores of Lake Erie. At first Mr. Obama said he wanted to buy an entire basket of corn, but then an employee, clad in a t-shirt that read "Take a peach to the beach," told him that it was about three dozen cobs.

"I've only got six people," the President said, so he bought a dozen for $4.95, and dubbed it "beautiful corn."

"And what I am thinking is some peaches," the President added. Half pecks of peaches cost $7.50.

The President asked the sweaty group of journalists trailing him if anyone wanted a peach. The pooler on duty said he would would not want to accept a peach without paying for it, lest it be considered a bribe for good coverage.

"You think a peach and I get a better column?" the President responded, skeptically and laughing. No peaches were purchased for the press.

But someone in his entourage knocked over some cherries, and the President offered to buy those, too. (Above: The President at the check-out counter, cash in hand)

"Just put them in a bag and we will wash them up," he said.

Before making his purchases, the President chatted with thrilled locals at the roadside stand, gathered under a shade tree to guard against the wilting heat. The pool couldn't hear what the President said while in the receiving line, but reported it as typical chit chat, with the President alternating his standard greetings: "It's nice to meet you...Nice to see you...Hi how are you...What's your name?"

After the healthy 15-minute interlude, the President climbed back aboard his big black bus, heading for a scheduled event in Sandusky, at Washington Park.

Click here for all posts about the bus trip.

Info: Bergman Orchards Farm Market has three locations. The President stopped at the one located at 4562 E. Bayshore Road - Rte. 2, Port Clinton, Ohio 43452. Phone: 419-734-4272.

*Pool photos