Farmers, The First Lady & Me

September 27th, 2009
Those eyes! Those arms! It's First Lady Michelle Obama, a few inches away from me, shaking hands at the opening of the FRESHFARM Markets by The White House.

Those eyes! Those arms! It's First Lady Michelle Obama, a few inches away from me, shaking hands at the opening of the FRESHFARM Markets by The White House.

Yes, I was actually close enough to Michelle Obama to snap these photos. Shook her hand, spoke to her – it was an amazing high point after several weeks of work helping my client FRESHFARM Markets explore the new world of social media and its relevance to farmers markets.  (Check out this  Twitter stream for some of the results).


By now you’ve probably heard that The First Lady exclaimed, “I’ve never seen so many people so excited about vegetables!”  But what you didn’t hear was the man next to me who shyly inquired, “What’s that purple stuff?” before learning it was kohlrabi.

People were walking around from stand to stand,  pointing and looking at  “exotic” produce specimens that typically aren’t available at the local supermarket. And they weren’t just looking, they were buying.  Some farmers ran out of food because the market completely exceeded their expectations.


I couldn’t resist taking this photo of  handsome Sam Kass, the White House chef who oversees the White House garden.  As I tweeted, he was welcomed like a rock star —  after Michelle Obama, he got the loudest cheers from the crowd (or at least from the female contingent!)

Take a look at these other photos I snapped. I  made a point to walk by every one of the eighteen farmers stalls in order to try and capture the atmosphere on opening day. Like me, you may have been to many, many farmers’ markets before. But few people have ever been to a  farmer’s market that looks anything like this one…

It seemed like a dream, but it was true. This woman from Welsh Gardens kept beckoning people over for a lavender hand wash.


Talk about a decadent pleasure. It was amazing. Inside the Welsh Gardens tent were a beautiful array of organically grown lavender soaps and herbs.

And here’s a shot of Blueberry Hill Farm.


Do you see the beautiful marigold garland? The farmer’s daughter made The First Lady a lei from these marigolds.

One of the greatest pleasures at market is enjoying the samples that are freely passed out.  At  Clear Spring Creamery, below, @gplot mixes  a mean Blueberry smoothie for yours truly.


The women of Endless Summer Harvest look so happy in the picture below, don’t they?


I love their sign (below) welcoming Michelle Obama – although unfortunately she never made it to this stand. (She was actually shopping behind a security fence, although you couldn’t tell from most of the pix released that day).


The picture below shows the beautiful display that greeted Mrs. Obama at The Farm at Sunnyside.


And despite this amusing sign promoting Sunnyside’s beets, Mrs. Obama passed on the beets!


Solitude. Many people were surprised  to find yarn at market. Perhaps some of the city folk forgot that yarn comes from the wool of sheep, which after all, live on farms! (Let’s forget about those synthetic yarns, shall we?)  This beautiful little shop – it really seemed more like a shop than a stand – reminded me of little stores in Ireland.


Gunpowder Bison and Trading Company.


I love the name of this market. It sounds like something from the Wild West, but this 70 acre farm is actually located in northern Baltimore County, Maryland.

Wollam Gardens. Beautiful. Just beautiful. What else can one say?


Quail Creek Farm and Praline Bakery.
I don’t know about you, but when I first heard the term “farmers market,” I didn’t think of French pastries.


But these  croissants aux amandes  looked to be straight from Paris! Instead, they were from Quail Creek Farm in West Virginia.


And Praline Bakery, from my hometown of Bethesda, also had  the types of delectable pastries most people associate more with Paris than with a farmers market on a city street. So much for snacking on cut fruit and veggies!  ☺

Toigo Orchards – I didn’t buy a jar of bourbon peaches…but I regret it!


Groff’s  Content Farm

I love this photo of Farmer Bob Bolton in his Groffs Content Farm hat, showing off some free range poultry.

Chris’ Marketplace.     I’ve blogged before about Chris’ delicious crabcakes. This time I lunched on the empanadas and gazpacho, which were delicious.  You can see from the pic below that there was quite a line!


The market was so packed, and I was so busy sending tweets, twitpix  etc, that I didn’t get to spend as much time at each stand as I would have liked.  Here I am demonstrating my best Tweeting technique with FRESHFARMs Market co-founder Bernie Prince.


Here are a few stands that I had to rush by:

It was so packed at Firefly Farms that I didn’t get to try any of their artisan cheeses, but it looks fabulous, doesn’t it?


There were so many choices for great cheese – here’s the stand for  Keswick Creamery.


Spring Valley Farm – Spring Valley was actually one of the few stands that resembled a typical farmer’s stand. Tomatoes, apples, greens – nothing too fancy, just simple, great fruits and veggies.


Not all of the stands take credit cards, but Everona Dairy does – and they advertise it prominently.


I don’t eat pork, but if I did, I think this sign from Cedarbrook Farm would have me sold!


And finally, one of the many happy customers I encountered along the way. He was  thrilled to have purchased the last of the carrots from The Farm at Sunnyside.


Hope you enjoyed this “virtual tour” of the newest and perhaps the most famous farmers market in the world!

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2009

Disclosure: As disclosed above (so this is double disclosure), my company, 4GreenPs, was employed to manage FRESHFARM Market’s social media presence at the re-opening of the market, however this was not a paid post. I posted because I was just so darn excited. Wouldn’t you be? It’s great to have such wonderful clients!

15 Responses to “Farmers, The First Lady & Me”

  1. nadine sellers on September 27, 2009 7:22 pm

    this must be a culminating point in the organic adventures of an active green promoter. how close can you get to the most influential first gardener, a lady, a first. this is a proud benchmark for all green moms.
    all conscious consumers. bonne chance!

  2. Lynn on September 27, 2009 8:25 pm

    Thanks so much, Nadine! Always wonderful to hear from one of my first green bloggy friends. Merci!

  3. Marguerite Manteau-Rao on September 27, 2009 11:35 pm

    Awesome, Lynn! What a high that day must have been for you . . . I am so proud of you. Keep up your amazing work.
    .-= Marguerite Manteau-Rao´s last blog ..The Buddha’s 12 Steps to Happiness and Freedom =-.

  4. Lynn on September 28, 2009 5:52 am

    Thanks so much, Marguerite. Funny how the bloggy world works…this post brings me back to two of my earliest and oldest bloggy friends, yet the ones with whom I’ve been out of touch of late! How wonderful to hear from you and Nadine! It must have been the mention of les croissants aux amandes! :)

  5. Lisa on September 28, 2009 8:22 am

    That is so awesome!!!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Product Review: Citizenpip =-.

  6. Mindful Momma on September 28, 2009 4:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing all those fabulous photos Lynn – what fun!!
    .-= Mindful Momma´s last blog ..Studio Chic Design =-.

  7. JessTrev on September 28, 2009 7:05 pm

    Oh! Looks like such fun. Keep thinking I will run into you at the Bethesda FreshFarm market one of these Sunday mornings. Great work!
    .-= JessTrev´s last blog ..Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Michael Pollan =-.

  8. Lynn on September 28, 2009 7:47 pm

    Hey Lisa, Micaela, and Jess,
    Thanks for letting me know how much you enjoyed the pix!
    And Jess, while yes, that is a farmers market in Bethesda on Sundays, it’s not a FRESHFARM Market…. (A ha!) But we gotta meet up, now that you’ve moved Bethesda way! — Lynn

  9. Brenna on September 28, 2009 8:05 pm

    How amazing! The photos, the amazing stands, and an awesome first lady.. wow.
    .-= Brenna´s last blog ..Monday Madness: Everything On Sale! =-.

  10. Amber on September 28, 2009 10:05 pm

    That looks amazing!

    And that guy to the left of Michelle Obama in the second photo does not look like someone I’d want to mess with. I guess that she has security on her at all times.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Ice Cream and the Meaning of Life =-.

  11. Green Bean on September 29, 2009 8:18 am

    Congrats, Lynn. Ironically, I posted about the same topic this morning and this was just the link I was looking for!
    .-= Green Bean´s last blog ..Arugula for One, Arugula for All =-.

  12. Condo Blues on September 29, 2009 2:50 pm

    How exciting to be part of something like that! You should be very very proud.
    .-= Condo Blues´s last blog ..How to Preserve Fresh Herbs =-.

  13. Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish on September 29, 2009 6:12 pm

    Gorgeous pictures, Lynn! Hey, I don’t see a lot of plastic in these photos. Did you notice if most customers were bringing their own bags? Many of the farmers markets out here in the Bay Area have actually banned all plastic bags. Just wondering what the scoop is on this new one. And man, those bourbon peaches look great. Unfortunately, they are a long way from local to me. I’ll have to try making something like that myself. (Except it’s dangerous to have bourbon in my house.)
    .-= Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish´s last blog ..All New Updated Plastic Challenge Web Site! =-.

  14. Lynn on October 5, 2009 5:52 pm

    Hey Beth, Lisa, Amber, Brenna and Michelle, Thanks for your warm comments. I’ve been so backed up with “life,” that I never got back around to answer your questions — well, I guess that’s not true, I did email Beth! But Amber, yes, that guy is Secret Service and they were all over. It was amazing to see how INTENT and how INTENSE they are. Very impressive. Now I gotta catch up and post about the opening of Bethesda Green! Whew! Busy weeks here! — Lynn

  15. Organic and Green Mom Blog | A New Thanksgiving Tradition at Organic Mania on November 27, 2009 11:42 am

    […] remembered how at the launch of the Farmers Market by the White House FRESHFARM Markets co-founder Ann Yonkers stated that farmers were the most under appreciated group […]

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