Michelle Obama, daughters tour Colo. peach orchard | VailDaily.com

Michelle Obama, daughters tour Colo. peach orchard

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – While President Barack Obama talked health care in Grand Junction Saturday, his wife and daughters visited a peach orchard in nearby Palisade.

High Country Orchards owner Theresa High said she and her family gave the Obamas a brief tour on Saturday. But High and other family members didn’t give many details of what happened during the visit, saying they wanted to respect the Obamas’ privacy.

“They wanted to get away,” said Matthew High, Theresa High’s son.

The first family brought some peaches to share with travelers on Air Force One.

Their visit did disrupt peach picking at the height of the season at neighboring Talbott Farms. President Charlie Talbott said the Secret Service told his pickers to stop working and leave the orchard for a few hours.

Talbott said if the agents had given him more warning he could have scheduled picking in a different part of the orchard.

“We are going to have to hold our crew late today in order to pack what we needed earlier to fill the trucks,” he said.

Obama is the first president to visit Grand Junction in nearly 20 years. The last was George H.W. Bush in 1991.

Some merchants had hoped the Obamas would also visit the city’s downtown.

Paula Hawkins, the owner of Gelato Junction on Main Street, said Secret Service agents visited her shop all week. She said they indicated there was a good chance the Obamas would visit.

She made all fresh batches of ice cream, including one made with Palisade peaches, just in case.

Grand Junction police and the Mesa County sheriff’s office said they provided 146 officers to help with security during Obama’s visit. They estimate the added security will cost between $8,000 and $15,000.

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