According to media reports, the President called German asparagus, "fabulous" following a dinner with Chancellor Angela Merkel where he dined on the foreign specimen.
Murray and Hastings have long stood up for Washington state's asparagus growers and they couldn't pass up the opportunity to give the President himself a taste of the local finery.
"My dad grew up picking asparagus in the Tri-Cities and I know it's the best in the world. The President was probably just being polite when he complimented German asparagus, but just to make sure, I wanted him to have some truly great asparagus from Washington state," Senator Murray said.
"Anyone who enjoys asparagus is missing out if they haven’t tried the asparagus we grow in Washington, and I’m sure he’ll appreciate the gift," Hastings said.
Murray and Hastings sent 10 pounds of fresh Washington state asparagus to the White House for the President and his family to enjoy. The asparagus was purchased from Gourmet Trading in Pasco, WA.
The full text of the Murray/Hasting letter to the President as well as a news report on the President's comments about German asparagus follow:
June 17, 2008
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20501
Dear Mr. President:
We were heartened to read in an Associated Press article last week that you are an asparagus fan.
It was reported that after dining with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, you announced to gathered media, "For those in the German press who thought I didn't like asparagus, you're wrong. The German asparagus are fabulous."
Well, Mr. President, if you liked the German variety, we guarantee that you will love Washington state asparagus. We are proud to send you a case of Washington state asparagus to enjoy at the White House.
Washington asparagus is produced on approximately 10,000 acres in the Columbia Basin, the Yakima Valley and the Walla Walla area. About 53 million pounds of asparagus are produced each year, bringing close to 28 million dollars to our home state's economy. Our state's 175 asparagus growers produce forty percent of all the asparagus grown in the United States.
We know you'll love this fine Washington state asparagus and we're happy to include a link for some great recipes courtesy of the Washington Asparagus Commission.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
U.S. Representative Doc Hastings
Associated Press article on President Bush and German asparagus:
White House Notebook: Bush likes German asparagus
By DEB RIECHMANN – 6 days ago
MESEBERG, Germany (AP) — The first President Bush, famously, didn't like broccoli. Apparently his son feels differently about asparagus. And he wants the people of Germany to know it.
In a news conference Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Bush thanked his host for a most gracious dinner the night before. He and first lady Laura Bush had been treated to schnitzel, asparagus and a bowl of fresh strawberries.
"Laura and I loved our dinner last night," Bush said. "For those in the German press who thought I didn't like asparagus, you're wrong. The German asparagus are fabulous."
This time of year, asparagus is something of a national obsession on Germany, where a thick, white variety — usually slathered with Hollandaise sauce — is preferred over the green version of the vegetable.
Bush is known to drop these culinary mentions abroad. In a 2006 barbecue with Merkel in Germany, he could not stop raving about a roast wild boar.
It is also rather customary for Bush and his host to heap praise on each other. On this front, Bush could not have been disappointed with Merkel.
"Let me say that I'm delighted to be able to have this press conference together with the American president after our talks here today," she said.
"Yesterday we had very intensive talks over dinner. We had intensive talks this morning ... I'm very, very pleased to have the president of the United States here as our honored guest in this guest house of the government. We had a very good atmosphere," Merkel said.
When asked by a reporter to assess Bush's era, which comes to a close in January, Merkel spoke of the president as a forthright friend.
"Whenever they were differences of opinions, we actually called a spade a spade," Merkel said. "It's actually nice about the president, that you can actually call a spade a spade with him."
Bush may speak plainly, but he also reserves the right to stay mum whenever he wants.
The same reporter asked Bush why he is so unpopular in Germany. Bush didn't answer.