Mrs-O.com is a blog dedicated to chronicling the fashion and style of First Lady Michelle Obama. Founded September 2008. 


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White House Fruits and Veggies

Photo credit: Jason Reed / Reuters Today Mrs. O will be joined by a group of 5th grade students from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, D.C. to dig and plant the White House vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt's victory garden. The garden will include a medley of vegetables, berries and herbs that the students will help to plant, harvest and cook. To see the full plan, click here. The garden is part of the First Lady's cause for healthier eating. As she described to the New York Times:

“A real delicious heirloom tomato is one of the sweetest things that you’ll ever eat,” she said. “And my children know the difference, and that’s how I’ve been able to get them to try different things.

“I wanted to be able to bring what I learned to a broader base of people. And what better way to do it than to plant a vegetable garden in the South Lawn of the White House?”

We wonder if Ms. Alice Waters had a hand in this? In last Sunday's edition of "60 Minutes", the slow-food movement leader made a timely case for a White House vegetable garden.

"I have been talking nonstop about the symbolism of an edible landscape at the White House. I think it says everything about stewardship of the land and about the nourishment of a nation," Waters said.

Asked if she thinks she'll achieve such a garden at the White House, Waters told Lesley Stahl, "Well, I'm very hopeful. I've always liked the idea of doing press conferences at the compost heap."

All very exciting, with a promise of Spring no less. Of course, we can't wait to see Mrs. O's take on gardening gear. Update: It proves to be quite a chic take indeed: a long black wrap sweater, paired with one of Mrs. O's signature belts, leggings and black patent leather boots. The official word from Mrs. O and the White House blog:

"This is a big day. We've been talking it since the day we moved in," said the First Lady as she and two dozen local students broke ground on the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House.  Those students will be involved in the garden as it develops and grows, producing delicious, healthy vegetables to be cooked in the White House Kitchen and given to Miriam's Kitchen, which serves the homeless in Washington, DC.

Photo credit: Joyce N. Boghasian / White House

Reader Comments (81)

I just saw a video on CNN and she looked great!!! Means pics are coming soon! :)=

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

So encouraging -- I've gardened since I was little, and know that kids love to get involved, and they're thrilled when they can see the results of their hard work. Our generation's version of Victory Gardens!

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrenda
Friday, March 20, 2009 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan
Friday, March 20, 2009 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

Take on gardening gear? As chic as it gets!


(I think the AP photographers are trying to make up for the lack of St. Patrick's evening photos; there's a clear focus on Mrs. O's fashion today.)

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

Oh, MY, I'm in HEAVEN! Also, check out the garden layout. It's huge!!! http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/food-politics/a-new-kitchen-garden-for-the-white-house-079767 I can't even begin to explain how much I love her for doing this.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMs. H

Ms. H -the garden is huge! Thanks for that link. It's smart to keep that mint at bay in its own little side plot!

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

she looks great, and the garden is a wonderful idea. plus those kids are beyond cute. i wonder if the girls participated in this?

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered Commentermoja31

Has she never gardened before? Where are her gloves? She's going to blister her hands. And patent leather boots seem a bit much for grubbing in the dirt. I will forgive her, though, as I expect this was just a photo op and she will dress appropriately when she's actually gardening. And she will, as evidenced by the following from the New York Times:

Almost the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said laughing. “Now Grandma, my mom, I don’t know.” Her mother, she said, would probably sit back and say: “Isn’t that lovely. You missed a spot.”

The garden is very nicely laid out - I particularly like the flower-trimmed walkways. Awfully heavy on the green leafy stuff, though. And where are the heirloom tomatoes Michelle raves about? And no garlic? No cucumbers? No BASIL??

Do NOT get me started on Alice Waters.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterHyde Parker

@ Hyde Parker - it is possible that the garden will be planted on a rotating crop basis, and also some of those plots for early lettuce harvest might then be used for tomatoes, beans, cukes, eggplant, peppers, etc. The early lettuce beds will go to seed eventually and so would probably be replanted. The trellises for the peas could support later-planted beans. Those lettuces will be ready to eat in very short order.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

Maybe, they are going to keeping some of the notably missing herbs and veggies up on the WH roof.

The lack of gloves is probably because of the photo op. I have to say, I suppose everyone is correct that those are patent leather boots, but at first I thought they were rubber gollashes, and I was so excited to see her in something very.... practical. Any chance I am right, and they are not patent leather? (No, I have never seen gollashes with a heel, so I am probably wrong.)

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMs. H

Mrs. O looks lovely, love the boots, seen them a few times b4.

I remember as a kid my mom tried to get my brother and I to start a garden but I overwhelming dislike for insects and outdoor labor ended that idea b4 it began lol

But having at garden is such a lovely Idea

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterdee

hyde parker lets be real I doubt Mrs O was doing any heavy duty gardening today

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterdee

They've got to be planting basil off in that herb patch. Can't have a garden w/o basil! (Or tomatoes!)

I know Mrs. O is talking a good game about gardening, but I don't think she's spent any time in DC in the summer. It's not a lot of fun. Though I don't know if Chicago also has that oppressive humidity thing going on; being on a lake, I'd think it was more breezy -- Chicagoan, what say you?

I've been talking about trying to get a plot in a community garden for a zillion years, and still haven't done it. Maybe this will encourage me to get off my gradually spreading behind and get it done.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Christina, we get pretty warm & humid here, but nothing like DC. I know it's a myth that DC was built on a swamp, but it sure feels that way in the summer time!

Still, being raised in a family like Mrs O, apparently -- we had an acre-sized garden, and my mother would make us go out there and pull weeds every day before & after school -- I'm sure the family will be spending time out there, warm weather or not. Personally, I'd rather go for container gardening on the roof or under the portico, but hey...

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

OK! I know this is so trivial BUT...does anybody know who the sweater and boots are by???

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterLadyBird

I must say I am impressed by the comments from all the real gardeners on here. I don't garden, so I dont know anything about all the dos and don'ts. That being said, this is a very chic outfit and I like it a lot! I was expecting something more along these lines when she went to do that Community Service project. Also, this is the first time I have liked these boots on her.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

Are we sure the cardigan is black? It looks navy blue to me and I think I would like it better in navy. Look at the full length pic. It looks navy.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

A Ladybird
This is a fashion blog. No fashion questions are ever trivial. :)
Now that you asked, I'm also curious to know who they are by, not because I would like to get the same ones, but I am curious as to which designers she patronizes.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A
Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

I wouldn't be here if I weren't a big admirer of Mrs. O., but...this would have been more impressive, even as a photo op, if she were wearing jeans, clogs (or wellies!) and a sweat shirt, and had gloves sticking out of her pocket. In other words, gardening.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSylvan B

Promoting healthy eating is good. However, nothing is going to get me to eat tomatoes. Too acidic.

However, the First Lady looks nice today. My only thing is that it is too dressy for the occasion - even for a mere photo op - given that she's gardening.

@ Christina - no, Chicago does not have the oppressive humidity of D.C. during summertime.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMara

My husband has been trying to convince me to plant a garden in the backyard (which I have refused to do). The weather here in the summer is HOT and HUMID, even though I live on the shore (all beaches here), the weather does not escape us. I am not an outdoorsy person, and do not anticipate fighting with the rabbits, squirrels and whatever else creeps around my background for my vegetables.

Being from New Jersey (the Garden State) we still have a lot of farms that you can buy from.

Delicious Orchards (famous for apples) has a farm store that is wonderful (they also grow other fruits). I am not sure about heirloom tomatoes, but Delicious Orchards grows "greenhouse" tomatoes that are delicious. They are plump, and I can literally eat them and nothing else.

I will continue going to the farms/farmer markets to retrieve my "garden" vegetables and fruit!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterJersey Girl

...and I hope they are composting all that sod they're digging out!

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSylvan B

I definitely see where you're coming from, Sylvan B. Although I wonder: if she had been wearing all these perfectly spiffy and clearly unuused gardening togs, would we be thinking it looked inauthentic? I can't remember if it was John Kerry or John Edwards (or maybe Mitt Romney?) who had a photo op wearing some perfectly clean and pressed hunting clothes that practically screamed "I'M A REGULAR GUY JUST LIKE YOU VOTE FOR ME!"

I think she did okay here since the intent was clearly not to work too terribly hard, but to spend time with the kids.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Jersey Girl, keep buying from local farmers!

That's what I get to do on weekends... my family operates an apple orchard in Indiana. We have about 10,000 trees (e.g., it's a LOT of work), so I get to play apple farmer on weekends. We love selling to the people who come out to the orchard to buy our fruit... to see people appreciate all that hard work makes it all worth while!

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

she looks nice. i don't think she is too dressy, she is relaxed and these are things she has worn before. the patent leather boots can be wiped off. if she had on suede that would be a different story. the sweater is warm and the lycra leggings give her stretch to do what she is doing.

i am gonna start my garden this weekend. my early tulips are going bye bye so its time to get those veges going. lol

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered Commentertoi22

Mrs. A - I'm so into all the great works she's doing that I was trying not to trivialize the good of creating that garden! But then again, if you can look great while doing great things, all the better! And you are right! This is a fashion blog so yes! I am very curious to know who the designers are of those items!!
And to all those wondering why she doesn't have gloves on or wellies or all the proper tools of gardening on and whatnot, come on ladies! It probably was a photo op but can we not agree that the point of getting this done and showing us how important healthy, fresh eating is for us all, isn't that all that really matters? ...as well as who designed that fabo sweater and boots! LOL!
Makes me wanna get out and start a garden which I haven't done since I was 12!

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterLadyBird

Today was just 'ground breaking day'.
The real digging and prep work will be done by a crew.
I think Michelle looked just fine for the photo op and meeting with the students - but she does need to find a pair of Crocs and gardening gloves for the next time she is in the garden.
Btw, there is another herb garden on the White House grounds that the kitchen staff uses.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

'kay, I'm in. I have a small unused garden plot in the corner of my yard. Now that my kidlets are old enough to pull the weeds, it'll be a lot more fun than when I was trying to do it while they were little.

However, I'll never look as good as FLOTUS while gardening.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered Commentert'other Mrs. O

Whoops - I forgot also to say that I am most moved by the way she made this a real experience for the children and had them actually planting things, not just standing around being photo props and watching, while trying desperately hard to be on their best behavior. As a mom, that impresses me beyond belief. She works so hard to do things right.

Also, there was so much discussion in the press of will she/won't she do this garden, and snide comments about maybe she'll do something small, and then BAM! Here you are, a full acre, well planned, well considered and beautiful to look at. Take that, Ms. Waters!

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered Commentert'other Mrs. O

I know some say she should have a more garden friendly outfit, but she and the students won't be planting for another two weeks. And I personally feel that garden clogs or crocs should be considered a criminal offense to wear under any circumstance

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDee

Mrs. A,
Thank you for the heads up regarding the CNN video.
I watched it and towards the end you can tell that the sod was already dug and pre-sliced into pieces and they just had to lift it up with the pitch forks - so now it makes more sense since the kids just had to lift it up and put it in the wheelbarrows and not do the harder prep work.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

Some of you people are pathetic on here posting about her clothing being to fancy to work in a garden. Correctly, if I'm wrong but is this not a fashion blog. All you complainers should be happy she covered her arms at least. Poor Michelle can not when for lose with some of you people. I'm happy she is trying to promote heathly foods and don't care what the heck she was wearing. You people are so "SHALLOW"!

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterTia

Mrs O makes the chicest farmer I have ever seen - are those Marc Jacobs boots she is shod in ?

In my LA garden I plant heirloom tomatoes, Thai and Sweet basil. It is so easy and satisfying way to add fresh from the earth organic summertime produce to my table. My plot is only about 5.5' x 4' and in that amount of space I get tomatoes May - Sept / Oct and basil even longer.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRJT

Here is a whole set of pictures from today's event including some really cute group photos of Mrs. O with all the schoolkids: http://community.livejournal.com/obama_daily/199391.html#cutid1

And here is a close-up of the boots: http://i42.tinypic.com/2ppd4cx.jpg

I love how, as someone else mentioned earlier, the newsphotogrophers are like "I gotta make sure I don't miss the shoes!"

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Regarding the White House garden...

Article about the beehive to make their own honey, garden will be year round with crop rotation, extra veggies will be donated to Miriam's Kitchen, planting will be next month, etc.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

I'm certainly no gardener, but those boots look just fine for working outside, to me. I posted a close-up of them just now (it's a link so it may be in moderation for a while) but they really look appropriate for the event. They are very sensible. No pointy toes or heels or anything remotely like that.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Tia, relax. If you think this is a bad thread, go back a few days! This is all sweetness and light in comparison.

I really like those boots. I'm glad it was at least a sunny day recently; a few days ago it was cold and misty/rainy. Blecchy weather for gardening. Today, at least, it's just cold.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Also, Sam Kass may be bald, but he'll never replace Tall Bald Guy in my heart!

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

she looks so chic, love it.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterCyndi

Chicagoan -

Do the apples from your family orchard ever find their way to any of Chicago's farmers' markets? They are my mainstay for produce in the summer (other than Hyde Park Produce!), as I have no room for gardening on my tiny back porch. I do manage several pots of herbs, though.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterHyde Parker

Christina, I was thinking the same thing, and w/ all those kids with garden tools The Bald Guy should have been their in case they started a revolt lol

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDee

Sadly, no, Hyde Parker. There's a certain global retail chain that buys most of them to put in their Indiana & Illinois stores. Like Mrs. O, they're doing what they can to keep food "local" so they support farmers like my family.

I'd be happy to bring you some Honeycrisp or another variety some time, though... I've been thinking about inviting the "Mrs O.org fan club of Chicago" to do something some time!

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

"are those Marc Jacobs boots she is shod in ?"

if they are, all i can say is GET IT GUTL.....how dare her be so fierce? lolz, god i love her sdm.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered Commentertoi22

LOVE Honeycrisp apples.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

You're invited, too, Christina! LOVE your posts. Even though you're in DC... we could all talk about how much we love TBG.

Mrs T, is there any way to communicate with people offline? I hate taking up space in your blog, but I'd love to get to know some of these great gals better.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

haha just saw the close up of the boots. crocs who?
this is how a fierce city girl gardens.

hotness.......i would like to see her in a pair of hunter tall wellies in the future, while gardening tho, she can pull those off amazingly.

Friday, March 20, 2009 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered Commentertoi22

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