Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beekeeper Meets Let's Move! Tweetup Guests

White House Beekeeper Charlie Brandts (above, in the spiffy shades) gave the 17 folks invited to today's first-ever Let's Move! Tweetup some lessons on the importance of pollinators before First Lady Obama arrived at the Kitchen Garden for the Fall Harvest.

The Obamas' beehive is the first to ever be on the White House campus, and sits beside the Kitchen Garden. It was installed at the request of Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass, Brandts told the gang. A White House carpenter for more than three decades and home beekeeper, Brandts built and installed the hive in 2009, and has been in charge of it since. This year it produced a whopping 240-plus pounds of honey.

Brandts also told the gang that the honey is used in the White House kitchen for everything from everyday meals to State Dinners, and explained that the President and Mrs. Obama have included the honey in their Diplomatic Gifts, most recently as part of an elaborate garden gift for HRH Prince Charles of Wales. The honey also now stars in the homebrewed beer the White House chefs have been making since January of 2011. The homebrewing is also first for any Presidential administration. (Above: A label detail from a bottle of White House beer; it reads "Brewed With White House Honey")

The Tweetup guests also visited the White House kitchen with Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and toured the garden with Kass. They watched Mrs. Obama and her kid helpers harvest and then enjoy Grilled Garden Pizza during a garden-side picnic.

The Tweetup guests--five men and 12 women--were selected "from hundreds of applicants" who follow the @Letsmove account, according to Hannah August, the First Lady's Press Secretary. The account has 13,875 followers as of this writing, and is written by staff. (Above: The group; the White House released the photo without id's)

Mrs. Obama will answer questions about her childhood obesity efforts on Twitter "in the coming days," the White House promised on Tuesday, with the hashtag #AskMichelle.

*Group photos were tweeted during the event by @Letsmove; second by Pete Souza/White House

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