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The First Garden's First Supper

First lady Michelle Obama plants herbs in the White House kitchen garden with students from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington on the South Lawn of the White House. (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)

The first produce from the White House kitchen garden has moved from farm to fork.

Under the hot sun on Monday, kitchen staff harvested the first vegetables, including oak leaf lettuce, red romaine, speckled lettuce, fennel and rhubarb. The lettuces and fennel appeared that evening on the menu for President Obama and his economic advisers, and were billed as "White House kitchen garden salad with spiced Marcona almonds and lemon tarragon vinaigrette."

(The main course and dessert didn't feature White House produce, but the beef filet was served with paella-style rice dotted with local peas. Dessert was a cherry crisp with honey-almond ice cream.)

As promised, it's not only VIPs who will get to sample the bounty of the garden. Garden thyme will garnish the fish special tomorrow in the Navy Mess, the West Wing cafeteria for administration staff. The three lettuces will be used in salads on Friday.

And the rhubarb? The White House is donating it to Miriam's Kitchen, which will use it to make strawberry-rhubarb sauce for the mini cheesecakes it is serving at its annual gala, 100 Bowls of Compassion, on May 14.

The kitchen staff was "thrilled to use produce from the White House kitchen garden," said White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford. "It is so exciting to see our efforts turn into usable goods.”

UPDATE Steve Badt, Miriam's Kitchen's director of kitchen operations, adds that most produce donated from the White House in the future will be used in everyday client meals, not special fundraising events.

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  April 29, 2009; 3:40 PM ET
Categories:  Sustainable Food  | Tags: Jane Black, Michelle Obama, White House Garden  
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We want photos! And the recipe! This is an historic moment!! The first time that spot has seen vegetables since the days of Eleanor Roosevelt!

Posted by: MsHeather1 | May 1, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Didn't they just plant this garden on March 20th? Usually it takes years to get a productive patch of rhubarb. From garden to table in six weeks is really impressive.

Posted by: xaocfrau | May 2, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

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