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Michelle Obama debuts as international hostess

First lady Michelle Obama is taking on a new role as international hostess when she welcomes the spouses of world leaders headed to this river city for a two-day economic summit.
Image:  Michelle Obama arrives at the U.N.
Michelle Obama arrives for the 64th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.Patrick Andrade / Reuters
/ Source: The Associated Press

First lady Michelle Obama was sharing her passion for eating fresh, healthy and locally grown food with the spouses of world leaders at a dinner Thursday on a working farm.

Rosemont Farm, just outside Pittsburgh in Fox Chapel, belongs to Teresa Heinz Kerry, a local philanthropist and wife of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. She is the widow of Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., of the ketchup family.

The farm grows produce and raises chicken and cows. Some of that was on the menu for the private affair, which marks the first time the spouses of leaders of the world's 20 largest and emerging economies have met on U.S. soil.

It's also Mrs. Obama's first turn in the role of international hostess.

Heinz Kerry said she cherishes the farm because it's where friends and family come together.

"I look forward to sharing our farm with our honored guests from across the world and am thrilled to have the opportunity to show them the natural and local beauty Pittsburgh has to offer," said Heinz Kerry, who planned to join Mrs. Obama and spouses for the private event.

Musicians from the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Orchestra's Jazz Trio were invited to perform throughout the evening, exposing Mrs. Obama's guests to another of her passions, jazz music.

Local produce
Mrs. Obama has been promoting locally grown food and healthier eating through a popular produce garden she planted on the White House lawn. Last week, she helped open a farmers' market near the Executive Mansion.

Mrs. Obama and her counterparts were to dine after she and President Barack Obama greeted their guests during a reception at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Pittsburgh.

Dinner could provide the ladies with some sustenance for a more hands-on day of events on Friday.

The schedule includes a tour of the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School, where the group will visit classrooms to watch student rehearsals and take in a star-studded show featuring performances by students and such notable artists as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, country superstar Trisha Yearwood and singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles.

There's also a visit to the Andy Warhol Museum for a private tour and luncheon.

The spouses will get to try the silk-screen printing technique popularized by the late 20th century pop artist and Pittsburgh native, and peruse items pulled from one of more than 600 cardboard "time-capsule" boxes Warhol — who threw away little — used to store all kinds of papers, documents and other items.

Archivists already have found $17,000 in cash in one box, and, in another, a crusty piece of cake from Caroline Kennedy's 1986 wedding to Edwin Schlossberg.

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