HAMPTON, Va. — At about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama pulled up to a roadside farmer’s market here in their imposing Ground Force One presidential bus for a little pumpkin shopping.
Proprietors Billy and Betty Wood of the “Wood’s Orchard Farm Market” said they have been in business for 60 years, married for 51, and working at this location on East Mercury Boulevard since the 1940s. A billboard read: “Pumpkin Patch Open Hayrides.”
The Obamas spent about 20 minutes inspecting pumpkins, as well as some other goods, such as fruit, jams and honey. Billy Wood informed the president that there are eight varieties of sweet potatoes. A handmade sign on a pillar read: “Pie pumpkins $3.00 each.”
“You know Michelle does a good job promoting produce,” Obama told Wood. “She tries to get everyone to eat their vegetables.”
As Obama talked to the shopkeepers, the first lady was busy inspecting pumpkins. She seemed very interested in oversized white-colored ones, which Betty Wood later explained were called “full moon pumpkins.” Michelle Obama picked one up by wrapping both arms around it to load it into a metal rolling cart with a long metal handle. Betty Wood later estimated the pumpkin could weigh 70 pounds.
The president quipped: “Don’t hurt yourself now.” He yelled out to an aide: “We are we going to put it? In the back of the bus?”
Michelle Obama loaded more into the cart. “How many are you going to buy?” her husband asked. “You want anything else?”
“No, we’ll have enough trouble getting these back,” she said.
Obama approached the cash register. They had about 10 pumpkins, including two of the full moons. He also had two red apples, a bag of peanuts and a jar of yellow-colored syrup that appeared to possibly be honey. He handed Billy Wood some $20s.
Obama asked if they would take a picture together and also promised to send photos of the pumpkins back to the store.
“We’re going to send pictures of the pumpkins outside the White House,” he said, shortly before they carried the pumpkins back on Ground Force One and the caravan rolled onward.