PORT CHESTER, NY (WCBS 880) – It’s the field trip of a lifetime.
A group of third graders from the John F. Kennedy magnet school in Port Chester harvested vegetables, collected eggs and made lunch Friday with First Lady Michelle Obama at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills.
“I’m excited to meet Michelle Obama. We’re really lucky to go,” one student told WCBS 880 reporter Catherine Cioffi before the trip.
The first lady gave her healthy eating initiative a global showcase also welcoming the spouses of world leaders, from places as diverse as Albania, Mongolia and Swaziland, to the center.
The women, in town for the U.N. General Assembly, ate lunch at the renowned restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
Addressing the spouses, Mrs. Obama, wearing an appropriately floral-and foliage-themed print dress, emphasized the importance of children learning directly about the food they eat.
“Many kids may never learn that ketchup comes from a tomato and french fries from a potato,” Mrs. Obama said. “Because they’re disconnected from the food they eat.”
And speaking of tomatoes, the first lady related a story about how daughter Sasha had been a tomato-phobe — until she made her own tomato, mozzarella and pesto sandwich in a cooking class at school. “Do you know those hair tomatoes?” she asked her mother, referring to heirloom tomatoes, Mrs. Obama recounted. “Now THOSE are good tomatoes!”
Now, Mrs. Obama said, Sasha is a fan. “We can do that with our children,” she added.
The day’s meal was prepared by the restaurant’s top chef and co-owner, Dan Barber, as well as three White House chefs who flew up for the occasion: Cristeta Comerford, Bill Yosses and Sam Kass, who is active in the first lady’s anti-obesity initiative.
The spouses were serenaded by a string quartet from the Juilliard School in New York City as they ate.
And yes, of course there was and appropriately healthy dessert: Red jacket apricots, accompanied by “White House honey sorbet.”
It’s all part of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, a program to combat childhood obesity.
Since launching the campaign, the first lady has focused on getting children to exercise and encouraging schools to provide healthy food.
Earlier this month, Obama addressed the National Restaurant Association prodding the nation’s restaurants to add more healthy options to menus, label those items more prominently and market nutritious foods to kids.