July 17th, 2010
02:24 AM ET

From the farm through the White House farmers market to the table

Washington (CNN) - A peach is a peach is a peach – that is until you’ve had a tree ripened peach, picked just moments before you bite into it.  It will change the way you look at fruit. At least it did for me.

Whole foodies, locavores, roof top gardeners, whatever food trend you’re into, bringing food from the farm to the table is undoubtedly hard work.  I got the chance to see just how hard when I followed food from a local farm to a farmers market and then to the dinner table at a D.C. restaurant.

My journey started in West Virginia where I met up with Eli Cook, a farmer who owns approximately 200 acres of land two hours outside of Washington, D.C.

Eli brings fresh, whole foods to six area farmers markets three days a week, including the White House farmer’s market, located across the park from its namesake. The job requires Eli to put in about 100 hours of work each week during farming season but for him, it’s a passion.

“Farming's the only thing that I've ever known ever since I was basically born,” said Eli.  “It was our way of life and it's what I love to do.”

He grows and harvests hundreds of thousands of pounds of food a year and brings a variety of products to market.  Eli believes the key to success is diversity, so he grows everything from strawberries, basil, and green beans to cantaloupe, squash, and bell peppers.  In order to be truly profitable though, he says you must have the triumvirate of produce: corn, tomatoes and peaches. In fact, his best seller is peaches and as I learned, nothing beats a fresh, tree ripened peach.


Topics: Michelle Obama • The Family • White House